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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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RE: I
By retrospooty on 12/15/2012 9:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
It does have those things, but I am quite sure he was referring to all of the things that the iPhone is missing and its aged OS that doesnt seem to be advancing while everyone else has passed it. Its list of "have's" is alot shorter than its list of "have not's"


RE: I
By TakinYourPoints on 12/16/2012 9:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take no internal SD card expansion or swappable batteries (who needs them when you get double the LTE battery life of a GS3?) as compromises. :)

As for the OS stuff, its interesting how cosmetics and not functionality are such high priorities for you. Again, I guess Android is nice if you want to play with your home screen.


RE: I
By MartyLK on 12/16/2012 10:06:42 PM , Rating: 1
Heh...it's more than just "playing with a homescreen". It's more about being able to maximize the use of the device so the user can constantly play with it (hold it, feel it, look at it, marvel at it's capabilities).

My GS3 sits on Wifi most of the time and the battery life is good enough for a days use. It needs to be better, for sure. But It's much more enjoyable to use my 80GB GS3 than it was my iPhone 4.

As for the removable battery, I also could do without one. I never change the one it has out. But expandable memory is a must.


RE: I
By retrospooty on 12/17/2012 1:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
"As for the OS stuff, its interesting how cosmetics and not functionality are such high priorities for you. Again, I guess Android is nice if you want to play with your home screen."

Stop trolling TYP... That is basically what you are becoming with the ignorant comment above.

How is any of this cosmetic? Funtionality is #1 and on that front Android doesnt just beat Apple, it completely blows it away.

- Larger Screens (I cant even begin to state how functional this is)
- Higher resolution screens
- Better OS
- Better notifications
- Better UI (well maybe this one is cosmetic)
- NFC
- Better Mapping software
- Plays HD content without downscaling
- Photo Spere
- Mini HDMI port
- Multi user support (for tablets)
- Flexibility in OS (Tons of Custom ROM's, etc)
- Flexibility in hardware (qwerty models, removable batteries, larger models, smaller models, high end models, mid range models, cheap models)
- Micro SD card
- Micro USB
- Plug and play as a flash drive to copy files


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain














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