Holdings operation Lavaflow, also known as John and Christina King, has slapped a lawsuit on Samsung and Sprint Nextel claiming that they hold a patent for a "foldable wireless communication device functioning as a cellular telephone and a personal digital assistant" and a "cellular telephone having a touch screen user interface." The King's claim to have the patent for the clamshell and the integral technology for pretty much every smartphone and pocket PC. The couple alleges that Samsung's i500 smartphone, in particular, infringes on their patents.
The King's filed their two patents with the USPTO in December 2002--a good four months after the FCC approved Samsung's i500. Even predating the i500 was the folding, touchscreen smartphone Kyocera PDQ, which is actually mentioned in the Kings' patent. Perhaps the Kings are hoping for a Christmas present from Samsung and Sprint in the form of an out-of-court settlement. More than likely the couple will end up with little more than coal in their stockings.
For more on LavaFlo's patent claims:
- see this blog entry from Engadget