Colorado-based company TracBeam LLC is suing tech giant Apple Inc. over patent infringement. In the lawsuit, TracBeam claims Apple is making ‘unauthorized use’ of location based services in iOS and OS X as well as with Apple’s ‘Find My Phone’ service which lets users find their device when it’s been lost.

According to the UK-based publication, The Register, TracBeam has a history of litigation, and has also sued Google and Ericsson over location technology. It has been awarded several patents related to wireless location technology used in both consumer and businesses related technology.

In this case, TracBeam is seeking money and an injunction preventing the sale of infringing devices. The patents in the filing against Apple are U.S. patents 7,298,327, 7,525,484, 7,764,231 and 8,032,153. The case is being argued in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas.


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TracBeam’s complaint alleges that Apple is infringing four of its patents covering using base station signals to estimate the location of mobile phones. While TracBeam has made these claims against Apple, some say the company is a non-practicing Patent Assertion Entity, filing baseless legal actions in the hopes of a settlement. According to, in 2011, a study shows that patent trolls cost tech companies $29 billion while another study last year showed that Apple was the most targeted firm by patent trolls.

Given TracBeam’s lawsuits against other major companies, many speculate that the company also holds the dubious distinction of being a patent troll.

Late last year, Congress passed the Innovation Act which was aimed at curtailing baseless lawsuits by patent holders. The legislation was supported by major large technology companies.