Earlier this week Apple Inc. “was ordered to pay $532.9 million to Smartflash LLC for willful infringement of three U.S. patents,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“You don’t have to love the U.S. patent system or non-practicing entities (A.K.A. patent trolls) to wonder: How the hell did Apple lose this case?” P.E.D. reports. “I wasn’t able to reach Apple’s attorneys, but I did have a chat with Brad Caldwell, the Dallas-based patent infringement specialist who represented Smartflash. He tells a curious story.”

“Apple, he says, ‘paraded witness after witness through courtroom who couldn’t be bothered to read the patents,'” P.E.D. reports. “When Apple’s lawyers got Racz on the stand they brought up his education (he left school at 8th grade), his horticultural training, the fact that he was from a farming family on the Isle of Jersey… ‘They thumbed their nose at other people,’ says Caldwell. ‘They acted like we’re Apple and have no need to respect other people’s intellectual property.’ The jury, I’m told, was paying close attention.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Protecting intellectual property is really, really important – unless it’s Apple’s intellectual property, of course.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

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