Apple Loses Early Battle in Anti-Hacking Patent Infringement Case

An opinion denying Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss was issued Wednesday in a dispute brought by plaintiff R.N Nehushtan Trust Ltd. (RNN Trust) over the purported use of its patented technology in Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and Watches. Judge William H. Orrick ruled that the RNN Trust sufficiently stated claims for relief as to two allegedly infringed claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,642,002 and 9,635,544. 

The ruling explained that RNN Trust sued Apple alleging direct infringement of its technology aimed at preventing the hacking and cloning of devices, “in part by using a ‘device unique security setting’ to restrict access to a ‘data mode’ in which data can be read and written and the device’s settings changed.” The majority of RNN Trust’s allegations were set forth in six claim charts tallying 100 pages, the court said. Apple moved to dismiss, asserting that RNN Trust failed to state claims for infringement. 

The court’s opinion focused on the sufficiency of the allegations, drawing on language from the complaint as well as the patents’ claims themselves.

Judge Orrick found that Apple’s arguments boiled down to “classic claim construction,” which the court deemed premature. “In arguing what the claim terms mean, Apple misses the point: the dispute over those terms indicates that construction is necessary to understanding the claims,” the opinion said.

With regard to Apple’s challenge to the plaintiff’s second claim, the court agreed that the infringement allegations were “sparse,” but said that questions of fact would be answered during the claim construction phase.

R.N Nehushtan Trust Ltd. is represented by Ruyakcherian LLP and Hill, Kertscher & Wharton LLP. Apple is represented by Fish & Richardson P.C.