Korean startup Firstface wins patent battle against Apple in US appeals court

Firstface Co., a South Korean information technology startup, defeated Apple Inc. in a patent litigation over fingerprint authentication technology in a U.S. appeals court.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently upheld the finding of the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board which recognized the validity of two of the three Firstface patents that Apple asked to invalidate, according to sources at industry Wednesday.

Firsface is a user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) technology development startup founded in Korea in 2011. It owns a number of patents in China and abroad relating to biometric authentication technology. .

In 2018, Firstface filed a lawsuit against Apple in federal court in San Francisco, arguing that the U.S. tech giant had violated its three fingerprint recognition patents. The Korean company said Apple is illegally using its technology for the Touch ID feature that wakes up devices using fingerprints to authenticate users. Apple has been using this technology since the iPhone 5S and the iPad Pro.

Apple in 2019 filed a lawsuit to invalidate Firstface’s three patents, but the US Patent Board denied Apple’s application for two patents in July 2020.

Firstface believes that Apple is highly unlikely to appeal because there is a small chance that the United States Supreme Court will take a case challenging a decision of the Federal Court of Appeals.

Apple should compensate for its violations if it concedes.

By Woo Soo-min and Choi Mira

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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