Does Apple have the right to the NFC technology used for its mobile wallet?

NFC technology - Apple wallet

Aire Technology patent-holding company has filed a lawsuit against the iPhone maker.

Irish patent-holding company Aire Technology has sued Apple over alleged patent infringement for the NFC technology and digital wallet tech used in many iPhone models.

The lawsuit was filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The company’s lawsuit asserts that Apple products such as the iPhone and Apple Watch “that support NFC and/or mobile payment applications, such as Apple Pay […] infringe at least one claim” of three US patents. Those patents were originally granted to Giesecke+Devrient for NFC technology and other tech that supports the contactless communication processes between enabled devices and user authorization.

Aire Technology is “sole owner by assignment of all rights, title, and interest in the asserted patents,” and is pursuing “damages (past, present, and future), costs, expenses, and pre-judgment and post-judgement interest for Apple’s infringement” of the three patents. The company is also seeking “a trial by jury of any issues so triable by right.”

NFC technology - mobile payments

The patents have to do with NFC technology and other contactless communication tech used by Apple Pay.

The patents include patent number 8,581,706, for a “Data storage medium and method for contactless communication between the data storage medium and a reader,” as well as patent number 8,205,249 for a “Method for carrying for carrying out secure electronic transaction using a portable data support,” as well as patent number 8,174,360, a “Communication apparatus for setting up a data connection between intelligent devices.”

The iPhone maker has been facing quite a number of challenges with respect to its near field communication chip tech over recent weeks. For instance, the European Commission is preparing to file antitrust charges against the company over Apple’s limitation of access to its chip technology.

Moreover, an Australian parliamentary committee recently held a public hearing to discuss issues applicable to companies including Apple regarding whether they should be required to permit third-party payment app access to the NFC technology chips in their smartphones. The Irish company is only the latest in a growing list of issues Apple is facing with this tech.

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