Noise Free Wireless filed a lawsuit against Apple on July 3rd, alleging the software and computer maker has infringed on its cell phone noise reduction patent. Noise Free Wireless states that it presented its technology to Apple on several different occasions at the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters. This all allegedly took place prior to Apple filing a patent for a similar noise canceling technology, which has been used in the iPhone 4 and 4S, as well as in all three models of the iPad.
After filing U.S. patent 7,742,790 in May 2007, Noise Free Wireless began demonstrating its technology to different consumer electronic companies, including Apple. According to Noise Free Wireless’ filing the company first had contact with Apple in September of 2007 and went on to have several meetings over the next three years. Noise Free Wireless claims that after a verbal agreement had been reached between the two companies, confidential materials were made available to Apple and that a non-disclosure agreement was later signed in September of 2008.
The relationship between Noise Free Wireless and Apple came to an end in August 2010, after Apple opted to use technology from a company by the name of Audience in its products.
In June of 2010, Apple filed patent application 2011/0300806, which details a noise canceling technology that maintains a cell phone user’s voice.
Noise Free Wireless’ filing claims 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.”
Noise Free Wireless alleges that Apple has misappropriated trade secrets, breached contract and engaged in unfair business practices. The company is seeking punitive damages for patent infringement and is requesting that Apple’s patent be revoked. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will be reviewing this case.