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Immersion Sues Apple for Patent Infringement Over Touch Feedback

The suit claims Apple's "force touch" and "3D touch" technologies violate Immersion's patents on haptic technology.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Haptic technology company Immersion has filed suit against Apple, claiming that the newest iPhones and Apple Watches infringe on its patents.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal district court in Delaware, alleges that Apple’s “3D touch” and “force touch” features infringe on Immersion’s patents for providing feedback when the screen of an electronic device is touched.

Immersion’s complaint alleges that Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6s generation of smartphones and all three models of the Apple Watch infringe on its patent for providing “tactile sensations” to handheld devices with touchscreens, along with a separate patent for delivering a specific type of feedback in response to a particular action by the user.

San Jose-based Immersion also alleges that Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, whose 3D Touch software allows users to preview information with a light touch and take action with a firm press, violate another of Immersion’s patents for “shared feedback.”

Since its founding in 1993, Immersion says, it has been developing haptic technologies that have been licensed for use in a variety of medical devices, game systems and electronics. It seeks unspecified damages for the alleged infringement.

AT&T and AT&T Mobility are also named in the suit.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

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