Apple, others sued over e-commerce patents

Apple, along with a number of other large companies, has been sued in a Texas court by a company claiming that the Apple, iTunes, and App Stores violate its e-commerce patents. Actus, LCC filed a 28-page complaint against Apple, Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and others, claiming that they infringe on its patents—Nos. 7,328,189, 7,249,099, 7,376,621 and 7,177,838—which cover an online payment method. The patents describe a system through which customers first set up an account with their payment details, and then add credits to a store account which can be used to purchase goods and services. It is unclear from the suit exactly which features of the Apple’s Stores are being protested; however, the feature most similar to those described in the patents is iTunes Allowances, which allows parents to set up monthly iTunes Store credits which are distributed to other, mostly younger, family members; gift certificates and similar codes may also be impacted. The complaint alleges that Apple is infringing on Actus’ patents by “marketing, distributing, using, selling, or offering to sell the following products and/or services: Apple Store, iTunes, and iPhone Apps Store.” [via AppleInsider]

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