Two More iPhone Lawsuits Hit the Courts

Apple iPhone

Apple’s legal department may have a busy holiday season ahead of it.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker is facing two new lawsuits stemming from its popular smartphone — a patent infringement claim tied to the iPhone’s Web browser, and a second suit that claims the iPhone 3G is not delivering on Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) promised capabilities.

Both suits follow litigation filed earlier this year that charged that Apple misled consumers about the high speed and other features available to users of its iPhone 3G.

The patent infringement suit, reported today by Reuters, claims that Apple used Web browser technology under patent by Elliot Gottfurcht and two co-inventors.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Texas by the law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro on behalf of EMG Technology, a company Gottfurcht founded. Calls to attorney Stanley Gibson, representing Gottfurcht, were not returned by press time.

The second suit was filed Nov. 19 by an iPhone 3G user from San Diego, Calif., and seeks $5 million in restitution from Apple. In the suit, plaintiff Peter Keller claimed the iPhone 3G suffers from poor performance and sluggish network speed, and that Apple breached its warranty of service and had falsely advertised the smartphone’s capabilities.

Keller’s lawsuit, which also seeks class action status, states Apple mislead buyers about the iPhone’s capabilities in violation of California’s Business & Professional Code. He wants a court order to force Apple to conduct a public campaign to inform the public about its illegal marketing practices, and also to inform other iPhone users of his legal action in case they want to join the legal action.

“Apple and AT&T profited enormously through falsely representing the speed and performance of two of its models through its authorized retailers/resellers,” Keller states in court documents, which were filed in federal court for the Southern District of California by the law firm of Rosner & Mansfield. Calls to Keller’s attorney, Alan Mansfield, were not returned by press time.

Apple, which did not respond to media inquiries about either case by press time, has stated in the past that it does not comment on pending litigation.

The new legal filings arrive on the heels of similar lawsuits filed earlier this year in New York and Alabama.

The New York suit, filed in September, also AT&T (NYSE: T), the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier. In addition to claiming the iPhone suffers from low speeds and other connectivity issues, the suit also charges that the iPhone is susceptible to hairline cracking in its casing.

The Alabama lawsuit, which claims the device doesn’t deliver quality connectivity, is in progress, although the court has tossed out two of its three claims.

As a result, the case is proceeding on an allegation of unjust enrichment — when one party benefits wrongly through monetary payment or services at the expense of another. The remaining claim still allows the plaintiffs to move forward and seek monetary compensation.

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