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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By Rukkian on 12/14/2012 5:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
While I may not own apple products (probably never will!), that doesn't mean I can't see they are a main benchmark for others.

Their phones sell no matter what, that fact alone makes them a benchmark.

While they may not have the absolute best in any one hardware catagory, they are usually one of the top.
Camera - usually one of the best
Screen - to some the best, others just near the top
Battery life - usually near the top
Graphics performance - pretty much always tops when it is released
CPU performance - usually one of the top

There are other things that apple completely sucks at, and are the reasons I will never buy one, but that does not mean they are not a benchmark in the industry. They may end up a benchmark for mid grade phones if they dont start innovating, but that is down the road imo.

By spread on 12/14/2012 7:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
Reception and call quality are pretty good too. Which being a phone are very important features.

By InfinityzeN on 12/15/2012 3:12:21 PM , Rating: 1

Apple phones are some of the worst when used as an actual phone.

By MartyLK on 12/15/2012 3:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the only real use an iPhone has is making calls. There isn't much else an iPhone can do beyond making calls.

By Richard875yh5 on 12/17/2012 9:11:20 AM , Rating: 2
Apple could make shit, and it would sell like hotcakes. They are on the same track as the old GM...bound to destruction.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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