The non-practicing company XR Communications filed a lawsuit against Apple Wednesday alleging that the tech giant’s use of MIMO technology infringes a single patent granted in 2020.
Filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, the complaint uses intellectual property developed by the defunct Wi-Fi infrastructure specialist Vivato Technologies against a range of Apple products that incorporate multiple-input, multiple-output, or MIMO technology.
XR Communications alleges infringement of the US patent No. 10,715,235 for “Directed Wireless Communication”, a document that covers wireless communication with MIMO beamforming capabilities. Essentially, Apple products are capable of broadcasting various types 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 suit describes a general mechanism of MIMO systems, which states that the device is able to receive and process several signals at the same time. The hardware also uses beamforming techniques to optimize reception.
The technology claimed in the application is specific, although the method is widely used by many manufacturers who market devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. MIMO and its successor protocols are also the basis for cellular standards, including the now outgoing 4G LTE.
According to a brief summary by Vivato, which appears in part from an outdated website, the company was founded in 2000 with $ 80 million in venture capital. Vivato focused on “carrier-class” Wi-Fi, which aimed to transmit data over long distances through wireless base stations that had incorporated beam-shaping phased array antenna designs.
XR Communications had previously asserted Vivato patents for MIMO, phased array antennas and related inventions against ASUS, Belkin, Cisco, Netgear and Ubiquiti Networks, among others.
Apple itself owns dozens of patents related to MIMO communications and the underlying orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM).
XR Communications, which is registered as Vivato, is demanding damages, past and current license fees, court fees and injunctions in its case.