Despite being ordered to pay $532.9 million by a federal jury over a patent infringement dispute, Apple plans to appeal the verdict that awards more than half a billion to patent troll company Smartflash. Apple has been very successful at getting these type of patent verdicts tossed out, specifically overturning a $368.2 million verdict and a $625.5 million verdict in the past few years. Even if it’s not overturned, experts believe the monetary value of the decision will be reduced dramatically.
Originally asking for $852 million, Smartflash argued that Apple had intentionally infringed on patents related to “data storage” as well as “managing access through payment systems.” Specifically, Smartflash claimed that Apple used those patented technologies in iTunes, thus the company should be awarded a percentage of sales on all Apple devices. Alternatively, Apple argued that Smartflash shouldn’t be awarded more than $4.5 million.
Loosely referencing Smartflash’s dubious moniker as a patent troll, Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said “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. 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.”
Speaking to Bloomberg about the decision, Rutgers University law professor Michael Carrier said “This award won’t hold up. If there’s a large verdict in the district court, by the time it makes it through the appeals process, that verdict is slashed dramatically or overturned.”
Of course, this isn’t the only lawsuit that Smartflash has filed over patent disputes. The shell company has also sued Amazon, Google and Samsung. The Samsung trial will be scheduled next. Google is attempting to move the trial to California, likely to avoid a similar process of a potentially large verdict as well as an appeal.
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