Apple has been instructed to stump up $532.9 million after a Texan federal jury found that its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash.
The jury went out for eight hours to deliberate, eventually determining that not only had Apple used Smartflash’s patents without which deliberated for eight hours, determined Apple had not only used Smartflash's patents without authorisation, but that they did so wilfully. Smartflash had claimed for $852 million in damages but the verdict is still a significant blow for Cupertino. Apple had asked the jury to find Smartflash's patents invalid as previously patented inventions covered the same technology.
Apple, almost inevitably, are to appeal the decision claiming the result was another reason why the patent system in the US needs reform.
“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said in a statement to Bloomberg Business. "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”
Smartflash originally brought the suit against Apple in May 2013, with the allegation iTunes infringed its patents related to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games. Specifically, the patents in question relate to digital rights management (DRM), data storage, and payment systems.
"Smartflash is very happy with the jury's verdict, which recognizes Apple's longstanding willful infringement," Brad Caldwell, a lawyer for Smartflash, said in an email.
Well they would be, wouldn’t they?
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters
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