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…
How to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac
An iPad and an external display using Stage Manager in iPadOS 16.

One of the best parts of the Apple ecosystem is how neatly everything works together. Apple often gets flak for its "walled garden" approach, but when it works well, it enables the kind of productivity features that Android and PC rivals can only dream about. For example, you can use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac with minimal effort, and there's no need to fiddle with annoying cables and questionable software hacks.

Read more
You’re all wrong — 60Hz on the iPhone is fine
A video playing on the Apple iPhone 15 Plus.

The iPhone 15 launch feels like it was just yesterday, but rumors of the iPhone 16 are already floating around. Some of the most recent have been bad news for enthusiasts, as it seems Apple is happy to stick with one of the more controversial elements of the iPhone 15: a 60Hz refresh rate.

While some people have dismissed this as tech-bubble griping that no one in the actual public cares about, there's definitely some fire to go with all this smoke. A 60Hz refresh rate, while not criminal, is starting to look increasingly comical on Apple's $799-plus smartphones. After all, almost every single Android smartphone priced at more than $500 now has a 90Hz or even 120Hz display — so why are two of Apple's best smartphones languishing with objectively worse screen tech?

Read more
One of 2023’s most interesting Android phones just dropped
Realme GT5 Pro in ornage.

Not too long ago, the Google Pixel 4 arrived on the scene packing a Soli radar system that allowed Motion Sense. It enabled you to snooze alarms, mute calls, control music playback, and more — all by waving your hand over the screen. LG attempted something similar called Air Motion on the LG G8 ThinQ using an array consisting of a time-of-flight (ToF) camera and an infrared sensor.

It was cool to see, but hit-or-miss in real life. Unfortunately, the idea died. Google never put the Soli system on another Pixel phone, and LG shuttered its entire phone division. But apparently, the fascination for controlling a phone with touchless hand gestures lives on.

Read more