Aspen man takes on Apple, Target
ASPEN – Aspen resident Jerry Bovino has chalked up a number of accomplishments over the years, from more than three decades in ophthalmology to hosting a talk show on GrassRoots Community Television and a writing newspaper column.
The retired physician also has accumulated a few patents, including some for instruments for retina surgery. But it’s another patent that is creating waves in the high-tech world and is spelled out in a five-page lawsuit Bovino filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Denver.
Bovino is taking on corporate giants Apple Inc. and Target Corp. in a copyright-infringement lawsuit.
His suit claims Apple used Bovino’s patented designs to create the magnetic Smart Cover for its iPad 2 and its new iPad. Target is named in the suit because it sells the ribbed covers, which retail for $39.95.
The suit comes the same week Apple secured 17 patents, including one for its Smart Cover, according to published reports.
Bovino, in an interview Friday, said he came up with the idea 10 or 12 years ago. In 2005 – six years before the introduction of Apple’s Smart Cover – it was patented as a “portable computer case,” court documents show.
“The patent was written to take care of any portable computer,” Bovino said.
Bovino said he admires Apple and the products it creates. In fact, he’s a shareholder.
“Apple is a wonderful company,” he said. “I have an iPad and use their products. They are wonderful products. And the sad part is, I did not want to sue, and I don’t claim to be in the same category as Steve Jobs.
“I just want to be paid.”
Bovino couldn’t say how much.
“I want Apple to recognize that this is my work,” he said.
The suit says that “Apple is liable to plaintiff Bovino in an amount that adequately compensates him for defendant Apple’s infringements, which, by law, cannot be less than a reasonable royalty, together with interest and cost as fixed by this court.”
“When I started to see all of these iPads coming out and the smartphones with my invention on them, I spoke to some patent attorneys, and they were anxious to take the case,” Bovino said.
Attorneys for Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., could not be immediately reached Friday.
The suit demands a jury trial and makes three claims: patent infringement, infringement of the patent by Apple and infringement of the patent by Target.
The suit was filed by Fischer Law Firm PC, of Denver, and Patent Law Offices of Rick Martin PC, in Longmont.
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