Skip to main content

Apple ordered to pay over $500 million in fines for violating LTE patents

Apple has been fined $506 million by a federal jury in Texas for “willfully” infringing a total of five patents on cellular standards. The lawsuit was filed by a group of companies including PanOptics and Optis Wireless Technology over a year ago; it claimed Apple owed them royalties for violating several patents on LTE technology.

The court concluded Apple’s arguments were insufficient and that the infringement was willful, according to a Bloomberg report, which means the fine’s amount could be upped by as much as threefold later.

Apple told Bloomberg it plans to appeal the decision. “Lawsuits like this by companies who accumulate patents simply to harass the industry only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers,” the company added in a statement.

The lawsuit primarily concerns standard patents that enable a handful of essential cellular functions and targets the use of LTE technology in the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad. PanOptics said that it offered Apple a “global license” for the LTE-related patents. Despite trying to repeatedly negotiate with the Cupertino, California-based company, they couldn’t enter an agreement.

In its defense, Apple argued that by bundling LTE capabilities in its products, it doesn’t necessarily violate these patents. The company also tried to push the hearing back to October due to coronavirus concerns but was denied by the court. Notably, this was the first in-person patent trial since the pandemic hit.

As it stands, Apple will have to pay at least a sum of $506.2 million to Optis Wireless and its related companies. We’ve reached out to Apple for further clarification on its arguments against PanOptics’ patent claims and we’ll update the story when we hear back.

Apple is currently in the middle of another lawsuit in Texas with pioneer audio manufacturer Koss, who has accused it of violating patents on wireless headphone technology. Earlier this week, Apple countersued Koss alleging baseless claims and a breach of a confidentiality agreement.

Apple has faced several fines over the last couple of months. In March, It was hit by a record $1.2 billion fine by French antitrust authorities for unlawfully limiting wholesalers’ ability to sell Apple products. A few weeks before that, Apple agreed to a $500 million settlement for throttling older iPhones.

Editors' Recommendations

Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
Federal court reinstates Apple’s $120 million patent win over Samsung
An image of a court gavel.

The patent wars between Samsung and Apple are far from over. A federal appeals court has reinstated a $120 million award to Apple in yet another twist in the years-long spat between the two companies.

The reinstatement of the case follows a previous ruling in the same court that basically overturned the case, which involves three iPhone-related patents including the 'slide-to-unlock' feature. Before the case was overturned, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $119.6 million for using Apple-owned patents without the company's permission.

Read more
Patent troll on the rebound as Apple court-ordered to pay $302M in damages
apple patent retrial virtnetx facetime

Apple received some bad news from its ensuing legal battles with VirtnetX, with the Cupertino, California-based company found guilty of patent infringement in a recent retrial, Bloomberg reports.

The retrial came to be from a judge overruling VirtnetX's February victory against Apple. VirtnetX, a nonpracticing entity, brought its case against Apple, believing the latter violated several patents related to its virtual private networking technologies.

Read more
Apple loses its patent battle against VirnetX, faces over $300 million in damages
Apple Logo

Apple's arch nemesis for the time being is not Samsung or another smartphone maker -- it's VirnetX, a company most of us probably haven't even heard of. It's a firm founded by ex-employees of government contractor SAIC Inc., and is responsible for producing the technology that allows for secure communications. And according to VirnetX, that technology is being used by Apple in applications like FaceTime without proper permissions. Now a federal jury in Texas has ordered Apple to pay over $302 million worth of damages.

It's the latest in a patent saga that first began in 2010. VirnetX first filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas federal court, and said that four of its patents for secure networks had been infringed upon. Two years later, a jury ruled in the Nevada-based company's favor, awarding it $368.2 million. But then, an appeals court partially overturned that decision, citing problems with how the original judge told jurors to calculate damages owed.

Read more