Rocket docket jury orders Apple ordered to pay $532.9 million in patent trial; Apple to appeal

“Apple Inc. was told to pay $532.9 million after a federal jury said the company’s iTunes software used a Texas company’s patented inventions without permission,” Susan Decker and Dennis Robertson report for Bloomberg. “Closely held Smartflash LLC, which claimed that Apple infringed three patents, was seeking $852 million in damages, while Apple said it was worth $4.5 million at most. A federal jury in Tyler, Texas, where Smartflash is based, on Tuesday rejected Apple’s arguments that it didn’t use the inventions and that the patents were invalid.”

“The dispute is over digital rights management and inventions related to data storage and managing access through payment systems. Smartflash claimed that iTunes used the inventions in applications such as Game Circus LLC’s Coin Dozer and 4 Pics 1 Movie,” Decker and Robertson report. “Apple pledged to appeal. ‘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,’ said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. ‘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.'”

“Cupertino, California-based Apple attacked every aspect of Smartflash’s case. It said the patents were invalid and weren’t infringed. It said Smartflash didn’t have complete control of the patents and waited too long to file suit. It also argued that Smartflash’s royalty demands were ‘excessive and unsupportable,'” Decker and Robertson report. “‘They are not just invalid, they are invalid many times over,’ James Batchelder a lawyer at Ropes & Gray in East Palo Alto, California, who is representing Apple, told the jury.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Once a real court gets it, this rocket docket jury’s mistake will be overturned on appeal.


  1. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R) has one message for tech companies and start-up entrepreneurs pleading with lawmakers to pass patent reform: With Harry Reid no longer in power, Congress is poised to get the job done this session.

    The Texas Republican on Thursday charted a path forward for reform efforts in the new GOP-dominated Congress, but he couldn’t avoid revisiting last year’s failed negotiations.

    Without mentioning him by name, Cornyn charged then-Majority Leader Reid (D) for killing a bipartisan compromise set to emerge from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    “But then, just as the markup was getting ready to take place, Chairman [Patrick] Leahy was advised by the majority leader at the time that this bill, if it was passed out of committee, was not going to get any floor time,” Cornyn said during a breakfast hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on Capitol Hill. “So that was pretty much the end of that.”

    Reid was widely blamed by stakeholders, Republicans, and even some Democrats for blocking patent-reform efforts last spring, just as the Judiciary Chairman Leahy was expected to introduce a compromise package after months of tense back-and-forth dialogue that involved an ever-growing array of diverse stakeholders. Reid’s opposition to bringing forward any patent bill was seen as a midterm-election-year attempt to curry favor with groups not fully supportive of reform efforts, including trial lawyers, a group that is typically a strong Democratic constituency.

    Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    Cornyn also took time to sketch an overall rosy prognosis for patent reform happening this term, insisting that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is “anxious to give this subject floor time once it is voted out of committee.”

    Casting Blame on Democrat Harry Reid, Republican John Cornyn Charts Path Forward on Patent Reform

      1. You don’t read an article like this OP and think it is time for some patent reform? I found it an appropriate response. If you don’t like the anti-Reid (D) approach, then focus on the part that says “Reid was widely blamed by… even some Democrats for blocking patent-reform efforts last spring…”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.