Apple challenges a patent held by Native American tribes

Apple filed a petition at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Friday challenging the validity of an electrical circuitry patent held by a company with ties to a trio of Native American tribes, setting up the possibility for a defense based on the tribes' sovereign rights, reports Law360.

Tribes logo.jpeg

In September MEC Resources, which is wholly owned by a Native American tribe, sued Apple, saying the iPad violated its patent (number 6,137,390) for “inductors with minimized EMI effect and the method of manufacturing the same.” MEC Resources is owned by the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribe. The lawsuit appears to be using Native American legal rights to avoid having the US Patent Office perform an "inter partes review" that could invalidate the patent.