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Victory gives Windows Phone and Android maker bargaining leverage and possibly a damages payout

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has lost an important, but under publicized patent infringement jury trial regarding its iPhone.  The trial was held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, a jurisdiction that is viewed as plaintiff friendly (much like East Texas) and hence tends to attract patent litigation.

The jury in the Wilmington, Delaware court found Apple guilty of willfully infringing on three patents covering camera phones, call handling, and call rejection.  The next phase will be a damages trial with the plaintiff's attorneys already crowing that they expect a "substantial" payout from Apple.

The case was first filed in 2010 by MobileMedia Ideas LLC, and covered 14 patents.  U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson was initially reticent to bring the case to trial, but she agreed to this year, when the plaintiffs whittled their list down to the three most important patents.

MobileMedia Chief Executive Officer Larry Horn told Bloomberg after the news was announced, "We’re very pleased.  We think it’s justified.  We’re not in the litigation business [we just want to license]."


Oh, it might be worth mentioning that MobileMedia is co-owned by Android phonemaker Sony Corp. (TYO:6758), Windows Phone maker Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) and MPEG LA, a company specializing in licensing video codecs.  In that regard, MobileMedia is what is called a "shell company" -- a company that does not produce anything, but which one or more companies shuffle patents to for the purpose of suing.

The patents used in the case came from Sony and Nokia.

Under current U.S. patent and contract law, often times settlements between two companies don't necessarily apply to their shell firms.  Thus Nokia, for example, can sue Apple via MobileMedia without breaching its settlement from when it directly sued Apple.  In most cases licensing settlements are written such that suing the licensed party breaches the contract.

Also by using shell firms, companies like Sony and Nokia can escape negative publicity of appearing overly litigious.

Steve Bauer, a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP -- the law firm representing the victorious plaintiffs -- wrote in an email to Bloomberg, "This was a very difficult case.  It required us to take the jury back to 1994-1998, when these technologies were first invented."

Apple has been struggling in the patent sphere of late, seeing the "Steve Jobs" multi-touch patent and the key "rubber-band" patent invalidated.  Apple also was found to have infringed on a Swiss company's protected clock design.

Sources: Bloomberg, Business Wire



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All together now:
By Motoman on 12/14/2012 12:20:03 PM , Rating: 5
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...

[rubs thumb and forefinger together in a manner suggestive of the playing of "My Heart Bleeds For You" on the world's tiniest violin]




RE: All together now:
By Argon18 on 12/14/2012 12:26:42 PM , Rating: 5
Sarcasm? Patent trolling and shell corporations are abuse of the system. No matter who is doing it, it doesn't make it right. I wonder if we will ever see proper patent system reform within our lifetimes?

Once upon a time, the patent office required working models of anything you applied for a patent on. It wasn't possible to simply patent an idea or a concept, and go around suing everyone. You had to actually produce commercially viable products in order to apply for a patent. The day we left that "working model" system was the beginning of the end for patent system integrity. Not to mention software patents, which should not even exist, but they do. What a mess.


RE: All together now:
By Motoman on 12/14/2012 12:32:23 PM , Rating: 4
I would assert that the key point is that karma is a b1tch.

I've stated innumerable times that the patent office is a joke as is all the mechanisms around it.

Considering the fact that Apple is the biggest patent troll in the world, though, it's hard not to engage in a little schadenfreude when they get a taste of their own medicine.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: All together now:
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/14/2012 12:45:11 PM , Rating: 5
Of course you do, you are an idiot.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: All together now:
By Totally on 12/14/2012 12:56:22 PM , Rating: 4
Response like that clearly shows that you have nothing to contribute so can you kindly please go away.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By spread on 12/14/2012 7:38:17 PM , Rating: 3
Don't you have anything better to do with your time than argue with people on the internet over completely pointless things? I mean if you were debating using facts and learning from each other that would be a decent use of time. But this is e-drama over really stupid things and you are really determined to defend those stupid things.

How sad is your life right now.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By Heizo on 12/15/2012 11:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
"ah ah ah, you didn't say the magic word".


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By Richard875yh5 on 12/17/2012 9:01:17 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Just name calling shows stupidity.


RE: All together now:
By Xplorer4x4 on 12/14/2012 2:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Do you do anything other then troll the site for people to flame?


RE: All together now:
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/14/2012 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sure do, and I only flame those who deserve it. What's your point?


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/14/2012 2:15:14 PM , Rating: 3
"Apple pays for what they use"

ROFL!!!!!!


RE: All together now:
By Uncle on 12/14/2012 3:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
I predict that if apple loses to many cases as patent trolls, the patent office will have a major revamp.


RE: All together now:
By othercents on 12/14/2012 1:41:28 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Patent trolling and shell corporations are abuse of the system.


Shell corporations like this are useful in maintaining and managing a large number of patents and licensing of these patents. However I don't see how you can have a license deal with a company that doesn't own the patent, or how you can transfer the patent without either transferring or cancelling the licensing deal.

These patents really cover the invention of the cell phone or in the case of 6,427,078 the extra processing used to provide peripheral devices. However one issue with patents is how long before they should expire. Given the speed of technology the inventor has more than made back their money on this patent.


RE: All together now:
By BZDTemp on 12/15/2012 4:51:05 PM , Rating: 4
You may be right but I don't care. Apple started the war and they deserve to be run into the ground.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By Camikazi on 12/15/2012 7:54:49 PM , Rating: 4
Apple is in no way a victim, they like to play the victim but they are as bad and devious as any other. BTW yes, Apple did start this whole "sue for tiny unimportant ideas" game and now others know the rules and are using them against Apple. Can't call foul once others start using the rules you set in the first place.


RE: All together now:
By MartyLK on 12/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: All together now:
By Camikazi on 12/16/2012 8:17:57 AM , Rating: 3
You seem to overlook that as far as this trial is concerned it is Apple who is doing the stealing and to answer your question no I don't hate Apple. Maybe Samsung did steal their ideas at first, I will admit the phones do look similar but just cause they were a victim once does not mean they did not steal ideas and other companies property this time. Like I said they are as bad and devious as any company out there, none of them are innocent angels, they are all out to make money.


RE: All together now:
By theapparition on 12/17/2012 10:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Typical response. You hate Apple so that makes them guilty of all bad. You deliberately overlook that their Intellectual property was infringed .

Fixed that for you, as it's an important distinction.

It's quite conceivable that two separate people on other sides of the world working on a similar problem would reach the same result. This does not mean something is stolen, as no physical property is taken. The real question is if the invention is unique and non-obvious enough to be warranted patent protection. We are seeing many of their patents being dismissed.

But on this same argument, since you are so quick to believe the Samsung verdict, then be fair and believe the courts also reached a legal verdict and found Apple guilty of infringing as well.

Or in your words, Apple was found guilty for stealing other companies property.


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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