The non-practicing entity XR Communications on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that the tech giant’s deployment of MIMO technology infringes a single patent granted in 2020.
Filed in US District Court for the Western District of Texas, the complaint it leverages the intellectual property developed by defunct Wi-Fi infrastructure specialist Vivato Technologies against a variety of Apple products that integrate “multi-in, multiple-out” or MIMO technology.
Devices named in the process include all iPhones that goes back to the iPhone 6s, iPads dating back to the first generation of iPad Air and iPad mini 2, Mac models launched since 2016 and Apple TV 4K.
XR Communications cites US patent infringement No. 10,715,235 for “Directed Wireless Communication”, a document covering wireless communications with MIMO beamforming capabilities. Essentially, Apple products are capable of transmitting different flavors of MIMO-compatible Wi-Fi, including variations on multipath propagation techniques such as MU-MIMO and DL-MU-MIMO.
Using the iPhone XS Max as an example, the process describes a general mechanics of MIMO systems, saying that the device is capable of receiving and processing multiple signals simultaneously. Additionally, the hardware uses beamforming techniques to optimize reception.
The technology stated in the process is specific, although the processes described are generally known and widely used by a large number of manufacturers that market devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. MIMO and its successor protocols are also the basis of cellular standards, including 4G LTE.
According to a brief summary by Vivato, which appears to have been pulled in part from a woefully outdated page, the company was founded in 2000 with $80 million in venture capital. Vivato focused on the “Carrier-Class” Wi-Fi, which aimed to deliver data over long distances through wireless base stations that integrated beamforming phased array antenna designs.
It is unclear when Vivato ceased operations, but XR Communications in 2017 began claiming Vivato patents covering MIMO, phased array antennas and related inventions against ASUS, Belkin, Cisco, Netgear and Ubiquiti Networks, among others.
Apple itself owns dozens of patents relating to MIMO communications and underlying orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) methods.
XR Communications, filing as Vivato, seeks damages, past and ongoing royalties, court fees and injunctive relief in your case.