Apple faces patent lawsuit over ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature

Apple is being sued for patent infringement for its “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature that was introduced in iOS 11 last fall, according to a report by Patently Apple. A company by the name of SMTT Technology has filed a formal complaint in the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, alleging that Apple infringes upon a patent that it acquired from inventor Nick Bovis titled “Mobile device inactive mode and inactive mode verification” and claiming that Apple’s “Do Not Disturb while Driving” features mirrors the patent in question, accusing Apple of willful and deliberate infringement of the patent by “[gambling] that SMTM and Mr. Bovis would not have the business acumen or the capital to vindicate their claims under the Bovis Patent.”

The patent in question, [8,958,853] describes a mobile device interface that would show a custom message selection screen with away messages when a mobile device is set to a “Do Not Disturb” mode, and interestingly would also create a certification method to provide evidence that a device was inactive during a particular time period, intended to allow drivers to prove that they were not using their device if they were involved in a collision or other traffic incident. SMTM Technology claims that the “Bovis Patent” dates back to 2013 and is connected to the development of an Android app called “OFF MODE” which SMTM claims Apple copied in its “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature, specifically the aspects where the iPhone remains silent and the screen stays dark while the user is driving and the ability to automatically reply to messages and for users to override the do not disturb feature by typing the word “urgent.’

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