A young driver -- allegedly using FaceTime -- slammed into the back of a slowed car and killed a five-year-old passenger.
Apple's aggressive patent strategy appears to have prompted a lawsuit that blames FaceTime for a fatal car accident.The filing, first spotted by Courthouse News (via AppleInsider), claims a young driver was using FaceTime when he slammed into the back of a slowed vehicle at 65 mph, killing a five-year-old occupant.
The driver allegedly admitted to police that he had been using FaceTime on his iPhone 6 Plus when the accident occurred.
Distracted-driving accidents are not uncommon, despite laws prohibiting such use while behind the wheel in most states. The FaceTime lawsuit is unique in its focus on features that were left out of the app, rather than the app's direct role in the incident.
Plaintiffs claim Apple invented and patented a safety feature that helps prevent drivers from using the app while underway. The company's alleged "failure to install and implement" the safety lockout is cited as a contributing factor in the deadly crash.
It is not uncommon for companies to submit patent applications for innovations that never see production. Plaintiffs' attorneys argue that Apple did not face any reasonable hurdles to implementing the driver lockout, claiming it would have carried "minimal" costs and "no conceivable disadvantages."
The lawsuit seeks damages and a commitment from Apple to implement the patented safety technology.