Print 49 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Dec 17 at 1:55 PM

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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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"


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.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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