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Apple has been accused of stealing fingerprint scanning technology by Firstface, a Korea-based mobile company. The company claims that it is the original inventor of the fingerprint sensor that unlocks a smartphone and shows the home screen. According to the founders of Firstface, the iPhone-maker has used the technology without their consent.
Korea Herald reports, the Korean firm tried to negotiate with Apple, but their attempts went in vain. Firstface had apparently filed the patent for the technology back in 2011 in several countries including Korea, Japan and the United States. However, Apple first incorporated the Touch ID in iPhone 5s that was launched in 2013.
Shim Young-tack, one of the Firstface co-CEOs, said while they tried to contact Apple regarding a licensing deal, the Cupertino-based giant "rejected the offer." This is why they now want to file a lawsuit against Apple and demand for financial compensation as the company used their technology without their approval.
"The solution that activates the smartphone screen upon authenticating a user's fingerprint was something unprecedented before Jung's invention," Young-tack told Korea Herald.
For those who are not aware, Apple has already ditched the Touch ID in favor of the Face ID facial recognition system on the iPhone X. Speculations are rife that the company will completely cut ties with the technology with the launch of this year's iPhones.
Recent reports have suggested that all three iPhones of the 2018 lineup will include the Face ID instead of the Touch ID. Apple believes that Face ID is substantially more secure than the Touch ID. Inclusion of Touch ID has also made the space for the edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X.
As always, Apple has decided to keep mum and has not released a statement addressing the claims to alleged patent violation. Whatever the case is, it will have to go court after a case is filed.
On a final note, we can't help but wonder why Firstface has come forward just now with the allegations when the patent violation happened years ago. Moreover, we are not sure when it plans to file a case. That said, this is a developing story and we will keep providing you updates as it progresses.