Federal Judge Voids SmartFlash’s $533 Million Damages Award against Apple

Just a few months after a federal jury found Apple’s iTunes software violated three Smartflash patents, a federal judge has dismissed the $532.9 million damages award, reports Reuters.


The ruling was handed down on Tuesday by US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who said that his “jury instructions might have ‘skewed’ jurors’ understanding of the damages that Apple should pay SmartFlash LLC, a licensing company that held the patents in dispute.”

The judge has scheduled a new trial on the issue of damages for September 14, in Tyler, Texas.

Smartflash filed a lawsuit against Apple and various tech companies, including HTC, Samsung, and Google, in 2013 and 2014. The lawsuit alleged Apple’s iTunes Store, App Store, and iAd violated three Smartflash patents related to “data storage and managing access through payment systems.”

The company was founded by inventor Patrick Racz, who invented Data Storage and Access Systems technology, which he called “Smartflash”, but the firm’s activity is patent licencing, which triggered the critics to call it a patent troll.

But his February victory wasn’t enough for Racz; he filed another lawsuit against Apple in the same court, involving the same patents but addressing products not included in the first filing.

Apple, of course, appealed against the ruling and used the case to highlight inadequacies in the US patent system and called for reform to eliminate, or at least limit, the activity of companies who make money on patent royalties instead of making products.

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