HP, Nintendo, Apple and Microsoft, plus many of the world's leading technology companies, have been hit with a lawsuit alleging infringement of patents covering predictive texting.

Delaware firm Autotext Technologies filed the suit against 23 tech firms, alleging they infringe a 1994-granted computer-based transcription patent.

Patent-abusing companies are alleged to include: Apple, AT&T, Helio, Hewlett-Packard, HTC America, IBM, Kyocera, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo of America, Nokia, Nuance Communications, Palm, Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Samsung America, Sanyo North America, Sony, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Zi Corporation.

Inevitably, the lawsuit focuses on predictive texting as commonly used in mobile phones, but it also names IBM's Lotus Notes, Qualcomm's Eudora 7.1 mail client, Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 and Safari, Nuance's T9 system, Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PS3 as devices offending the patent.

Autotext is a subsidiary of Acacia Research, a company which makes its money by acquiring, developing, licensing and enforcing patents. Acacia Research was recently accused of engaging in frivolous litigation by a judge overseeing another case bought by the firm.