A patent troll that bought an old Casio patent is claiming infringement in the Apple Watch Series 3, 4, and 5. It seems likely that the company will now seek to extend its claim to the Series 6, too.

The troll is seeking an injunction that would prevent Apple from continuing to sell these models, in addition to asking for financial damages…

Patently Apple spotted the lawsuit.

Apple has been sued by an Irish Company based out of Dublin by the name Solas OLED Ltd for patent infringement. Solas was only formed four years ago and position themselves as owner and licensor of technology focused on the OLED market from the smallest OLED watch display to the largest OLED TV.

The company [has already] sued Google, LG and Samsung. They’re now suing Apple with patent 7,868,880 that they “acquired” from Casio Computer Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, JP) solely for the purpose of suing tech companies with deep pockets […]

The company claims that Apple Watch 3, Apple Watch 4, and Apple Watch 5 directly infringe, literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents, at least claims 2-40 of the ’880 Patent.

The patent in question is an extremely broad one, which appears to describe a general method of controlling an OLED screen.

As a next-generation display device which follows such an LCD apparatus, research and development have been briskly made toward a full-scale popularization of a self-luminous type display device (a self-luminous type display) provided with a display panel in which organic electroluminescent elements (organic EL elements), inorganic electroluminescent element (inorganic EL elements) or self-luminous type optical elements such as light emitting diodes (LED) are arranged in a matrix form.

The present invention has an advantage in that the invention can provide a display apparatus which comprises an active matrix type display panel and displays image information corresponding to display data, the apparatus being capable of displaying moving images with a favorable display quality while being capable of displaying image information at an appropriate gradation corresponding to the display data, and also can provide a display drive method thereof.

A display apparatus according to the present invention to obtain the above advantage comprises: a display panel including a plurality of display pixels arranged thereon in vicinities of respective intersections of a plurality of scanning lines arranged in a row direction and a plurality of data lines arranged in a column direction; a scanning drive unit which sequentially applies a scanning signal to each of said plurality of scanning lines and sets the display pixels corresponding to each the scanning line to a selection state; a data drive unit which generates a gradation signal corresponding to the display data and supplies the gradation signal to the display pixels set to the selection state; a power source drive unit which supplies to the display pixels a drive voltage for controlling a drive state of each of the display pixels; and a drive control unit which: (i) controls the power source drive unit to operate to set the display pixels to a non-display operation state during a non-display period in which the display pixels do not display the display data, and (ii) controls the scanning drive unit to operate to set the display pixels to the selection state during the non-display period.

A drive control method of controlling a display apparatus according to the present invention to obtain the above advantage, in which the display apparatus comprises a display panel including a plurality of display pixels arranged thereon in vicinities of intersections of a plurality of scanning lines arranged in a row direction and a plurality of data lines arranged in a column direction, the method comprising: sequentially setting the display pixels to a selection state, row by row; sequentially supplying a gradation signal corresponding to the display data to the display pixels, row by row, in each row set to the selection state; setting each of the display pixels to a display operation state in a bias state corresponding to the gradation signal; and setting the display pixels to a non-display operation state in a non-display period in which the display pixels do not display the display data; wherein the display pixels are set to the selection state while set in the non-display operation state.

The troll asks for an injunction, among other things:

A permanent injunction prohibiting Apple from further acts of infringement of the ’880 Patent.

Patent trolls generally hope companies will pay them something to avoid the expense and hassle of a lawsuit, but Apple usually fights them in order to deter future attempts.

Casio was an early pioneer of smartwatches, making things like this Casio Databank 80 watch with digital calendar feature way back in 1983. The company still makes smartwatches today, but it’s design skills don’t seem to have improved much over the years…

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