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Apple bid to dismiss biometrics lawsuit stymied, several patents updated

Apple bid to dismiss biometrics lawsuit stymied, several patents updated
 

A series of patent updates from Apple have been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, one of which relates to fingerprint biometrics and another covering gaze-controlled user interactions. The patent updates coincide with a decision by a U.S. District Court Judge to deny Apple’s motion to dismiss a pair of patent infringement allegations against it, and to seek more information on a third motion to dismiss.

Charter Pacific Corporation has been given a week to file an amended complaint on the third infringement allegation, and if it does not or the amendment is found lacking, it will be dismissed, The Australian Financial Review reports.

The patents in question relate to delivering secure logical access control through biometrics.

When the lawsuit was filed in early 2021, AppleInsider referred to CPC as a “patent troll,” which is a term used to describe non-practicing entities. CPC CEO Kevin Dart, however, told AFR that the company has commercialized one of its biometrics patents in the U.S. in a deal it cannot disclose details of, in addition to a deal with Tapplock.

Patent updates

The published patent documents, spotted by Patently Apple, add new claims to previously-filed patents, including a new position for Touch ID biometrics on mobile devices.

The ‘elongated fingerprint sensor’ filing describes a biometric sensor with a form-factor designed to fit on the side of an electronic device with space limitations, such as an iPad.

The first claim in the document refers to the sensor as using capacitive technology, though later in the document Apple clarifies that this is not a requirement.

“The elongated biometric input device includes a sensor cover forming an external surface, which may be surrounded by a conductive frame,” the inventors write. “The fingerprint sensor may be attached below the cover. In some embodiments, the fingerprint sensor may be a capacitive sensor, while in others the fingerprint sensor may be an ultrasonic sensor, optical sensor, thermal sensor, or the like.”

The patent document has been updated with 20 new claims to better protect the intellectual property, which in Patently Apple’s assessment is a move to guard against patent trolls and competitors.

The updated filing for ‘gaze-based user interactions’ describes a system for sensing ocular movements as input for a head-mounted display (HMD) device.

The other three patents relate to wrap-around display technology, a strobe light accessory and the use of touch sensing on a fabric-covered HomePod.

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