Lumia  XL Microsoft

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL were problem devices for Microsoft. Launched alongside Windows 10/Windows 10 Mobile, the handsets were supposed to be the best representation of a flagship. However, many customers did not warm to the devices. I will leave it for you to decide whether the Lumia 950’s coincided with Windows phone’s demise or caused it.

Fast forward more than a year after Microsoft killed its Lumia hardware division, the 950 handsets are still causing problems. A company called Lemaire Illumination Technologies LLC is suing Microsoft over a patent infringement on the handsets.

The company describes itself as a patent licensing firm. It is taking Microsoft to the U.S. District Court in Marshall Texas. Lemaire says the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL infringed on LED related patents.

In the filing, Lemaire references a 2010 patent for “Apparatus and method for pulsed L.E.D. illumination”. This is essentially the LED flash, with the patent specifically for how it can generate color tones. The company also points to the following infringements:

  • 9,119,266 – Pulsed L.E.D. illumination apparatus and method
  • 6,095,661 – Method and apparatus for an L.E.D. flashlight
  • 6,488,390 – Color-adjusted camera light and method

Lemaire Illumination Technologies has also filed a similar claim against LG. The company accuses the Korean electronics giant of also infringing the LED patents with its 2014 G3 and 2015 G4 flagships. In its LG filing, the company says:

“Defendant has infringed the Patents in suit by making and using the apparatuses and methods claimed by the Patents in suit by making, using, importing, providing, supplying, selling, and/or offering for sale at least the LG G3 smartphone device and the LG G4 smartphone device. Lemaire Illumination seeks damages for patent infringements.”

While the wording in the Microsoft filing may be different, it is believed the two cases are almost identical. Lemaire is seeking damages to compensate for an infringement. The cynic would ask why the company has waited two-three years (the two Lumia’s and LG smartphones are discontinued) before filing the complaint.

Seeking Compensation

It is possible negotiations have been ongoing behind the scenes. However, there is undoubtedly a chances Lemaire is a patent troll. Perhaps the company will have similar complaints for other manufacturers. Apple uses similar technology in its devices, for example.

Since the fall of the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft has closed its mobile hardware output. The company also recently confirmed new Windows phone features and hardware are unlikely. Additionally, the company will no longer mention mobile performance in earnings.