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Apple ordered to pay $85 million to WiLan in patent-infringement case

In a long and drawn-out case over patent infringement, Apple has been ordered to pay $85 million to Canadian company WiLan, as reported by Bloomberg.

The court case has been bouncing around for several years, and this latest ruling comes from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego). A jury ruled that Apple did infringe patents and will have to fork over a payment to WiLan’s parent organization, Quarterhill Inc.

Although that’s a hefty sum for Apple to pay out, it could have been worse. In 2018, a different jury in the same case ruled that Apple should pay a sum of $145.1 million for damages related to patent infringement.

Apple disagreed with the 2018 court’s decision, saying that the way the damages were calculated was inaccurate. After the previous award was disputed, a judge agreed with Apple that the damages were too high and offered WiLan the option to accept $10 million in damages or go back to court. The case went back to court again, resulting in the $85 million figure.

The specific technology at the center of the lawsuit is two wireless communications patents held by WiLan, one being “a method and apparatus for allocating bandwidth in a broadband wireless communication system” (U.S. patent 8457145), and the other related “to communication systems and to systems and methods for implementing adaptive call admission control” (U.S. patent 8537757).

This comes after a long history of animosity between the two companies. Quarterhill has been mostly unsuccessful in its fight with Apple over the last years, with judges not often convinced that its patents entitled it to compensation from the sales of devices like iPhones. In 2013, Apple was taken to court over another WiLan patent, this one regarding MDA and HSPA wireless communication technologies.

Apple has also been accused of patent infringement by other companies, including a long legal battle with Qualcomm over royalties for the Intel modems used in certain iPhone models. Then there’s a claim from Israeli firm Corephotonics that Apple copied its dual-lens camera technology for the iPhone. On the other hand, Apple has also taken Samsung to court over claims that Samsung copied the iPhone.

Apple has not yet announced whether it plans to appeal this latest ruling, although it seems likely it will.

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