US firm files lawsuit against Apple over location based services in iOS and OS X

TracBeam, a Colorado, US-based company, has filed a lawsuit against Apple over use of the former's location-based services in iOS and OS X, Daily Digest reported. The company is said to be a patent troll, thriving on purchase of patents and launching legal proceedings against companies over infringement issues. The services are part of Apple's Safari, Siri and many others.

Tracbeam had been awarded several patents associated with wireless location technology used in both consumer and business related technology.

With four counts filed against Apple, the company could be expected to pounce on the huge tech company for violations. A patent with Tracbeam relates to location services in iOS, OS X, and even in Apple's `Find My Phone' service, which allows users to trace their lost gadgets.

Given the allegations against Apple, some experts consider TracBeam as a patent troll or a Patent Assertion Entity, a moniker given to business firms that bought patents and filed lawsuits on infringing companies. A study conducted in 2013 found that Apple was the most preferred target of the so-called patent trolls.

The House of Representatives passed the ''Innovation Act,'' last year, aimed at discouraging useless lawsuits filed by patent holders, and which had the support of a number of large tech companies.
 
TracBeam has also filed lawsuits against Google, AT&T, T-Mobile and several other companies.
 
The lawsuit would be heard in the Texas Eastern District Court, but no judge has been assigned to the case yet.
 
Meanwhile, with the gap between iOS and OS X narrowing, Apple Inc had started evaluating impact of common apps that could be of help to mobile and desktop users, www.dazeinfo.com reported. According to the latest patent finding details, Apple had started the development process to bring the enhanced version of Siri experience to Mac users with improved functionalities and features. A number of reports had earlier claimed the Mac version of Siri, although this was the very first time when the information held substantial evidence about Apple's initiative.
 
The patent, filed under the claim ''Intelligent digital assistance in a desktop environment'', outlines the basic framework that was pretty much similar to Siri for iOS. It would have voice-assistant, based on commands for a few basic tasks, search and so on. It would also have a self-learning capability and use the context clues to understand what the user meant.
 
However, Siri for Mac would still use the same server that the mobile version uses and would likely be available as a desktop app, capable of being activated by a single click. Or it would hum in the background, and be capable of being invoked by a simple voice command like ''Hello Siri''.