Apple Ordered By Jury to Pay $533 Million in Patent Trial
Apple has been ordered to pay $532.9 million to Texas-based patent licensing company Smartflash LLC, after a federal jury found the iPhone maker’s iTunes software had infringed on three patents.
The jury’s conclusion after eight hours of deliberation was that Apple had willfully used Smartflash patents without permission.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told Bloomberg “Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented.”
Apple’s statement continued with “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”
Smartflash sued Apple back in May of 2013, claiming iTunes infringed on patents as part of accessing and storing MP3s, videos and games. Smartflash originally wanted $852 million from Apple, citing it was entitled to a portion of sales from iOS devices and Mac computers that used iTunes.
The location of the trial was in Tyler—where Smartflash is also based—in the East Texas area, which has become known for patent litigation in the U.S. over the past decade, such as when Apple was ordered to pay VirnetX $368 million in damages for patent infringement in 2012 (Apple won its appeal in 2014).
Apple is not alone, as Smartflash has similarly sued Samsung, Google and Amazon, all in the same Texas court. Smartflash’s office address is located across the street from where the courthouse where the trial took place.