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Apple being sued over failure to implement a ‘lockout’ feature on FaceTime

Published: 31/12/2016 by Comments

Apple being sued over failure to implement a ‘lockout’ feature on FaceTime

Apple is being sued after a driver of a car was involved in a crash causing serious injuries and a fatality whilst using the FaceTime app on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The road accident, which occurred in Texas, USA, on Christmas Eve of 2014, was filed in California earlier this month.  The case identifies Apple as having patent rights over preventative technology prior to the accident happening. Allegations by the plaintiff point to evidence that Apple had access to technology capable of stopping the app from working whilst a vehicle is in motion. 

The court stated that the driver of the vehicle was “distracted while using the ‘FaceTime’ application on an iPhone 6 Plus during the operation of his motor vehicle,” which resulted in the car colliding with a stationary vehicle at 65 mph.  The car was holding family of four Bethany and James Modisette and their two children Moriah and Isabella.  The tragedy resulted in serious injury to each family member and death for five year old Moriah, the family’s youngest daughter.

Apple are central to the case due to claims by the Modisette’s lawyer that patent rights over technology, designed to prevent drivers using the FaceTime app whilst driving, were issued in 2014, but not put in place by the company.  According to the court and the wording of the patent agreement, the technology is said to “lock out the ability of drivers to use the ‘FaceTime’ application on the Apple iPhone while using a motor vehicle.” The plaintiff alleges that, had the patent been in place, the death and injuries could have been prevented.

Apple’s failure to implement the available patented technology (with the improved safety design) to their iPhone 6 Plus handset is considered a substantial factor in the cause of injuries’ and death in the case. In addition, the court consider that the Apple iPhone 6 Plus should have been sold with a warning that failure to comply with safe use of the device render it dangerous.  With these factors in mind Modisettes’ lawyer alleges that the iPhone 6 was defective the moment that it left APPLE INC.’s possession and Apple’s failures are directly linked to the injuries and death in this case.

A spokesperson for Apple was not available to respond with a comment at the time of the case filing report.

Colette Lamb
News article by:
Colette Lamb

A business sector writer with over 15 years of experience working in the marketing, commerce and law sectors' internationally and in the UK. Interests include composing music and other creative communications such as art and dance therapy.

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