Apple Sued for Allegedly Stealing Noise Reduction Technology
Apple has been sued by Noise Free for allegedly stealing their noise reduction technology, reports Computer World.
Noise Free Wireless holds U.S. patent 7,742,790 (filed in May 2007, awarded June 2010) that covers a method for reducing or cancelling environmental noise, such as wind, from a voice transmission on a cell phone.
The company says they presented their technology to Apple in September of 2007 and over the next three years had several meetings at Apple's headquarters. Noise Free says they provided Apple with confidential material including an evaluation circuit board. Initially there was a verbal agreement to confidentiality and a formal non-disclosure agreement was signed in September 2008.
In August 2010, Noise Free learned that Apple decided to go with technology from Audience for its products. They also learned that in June of 2010, Apple filed a patent for a suppressing noise in a signal while retaining the user's voice.
Noise Free alleges that Apple "extracted Noise Free's proprietary and confidential object code, determined Noise Free's noise reduction software and measured and duplicated the signal traces from the circuit board and microcontroller," and supplied the information to Audience. It also says that Apple's patent contains some of the ideas and inventions disclosed during their meetings.
The company is asking the court to find Apple misappropriated trade secrets, breached contract, and engaged in unfair business practices. It also wants damages for patent infringement and an invalidation of Apple's patent.
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