Apple plays the odds for overturning rocket docket’s $533 million verdict

“If Apple Inc.’s past is anything to go by, it won’t have to worry about paying the $533 million that a jury said the company owes for infringing patents related to data management in iTunes,” Susan Decker and Dennis Robertson report for Bloomberg.

“The iPhone maker has already gotten two big patent verdicts that it lost in the same Texas district tossed, and has pledged to fight the Feb. 24 jury decision. The company plans to appeal through a separate court in Washington where judges have sought to rein in the ability of patent holders to extract high royalty payments from companies,” Decker and Robertson report. “‘This award won’t hold up,’ said Michael Carrier, a law professor at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. ‘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.'”

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which specializes in patent law, has limited the ability to make such arguments when it involves features of a complex device. That was the reason it overturned a $368.2 million damage award won by VirnetX Holding Corp. in Texas over security features,” Decker and Robertson report. “A $625.5 million verdict in 2011 over a way to display documents was thrown out by the trial judge in Texas, after finding the jury got it wrong.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

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

Related article:
Rocket docket jury orders Apple ordered to pay $532.9 million in patent trial; Apple to appeal – February 25, 2015


    1. What the article didn’t address is the strong business case for this small town keeping its rocket docket going. Hotels, restaurants, car rentals, etc. have a big impact on the local economy in small towns. I’d like to see a deep dive into the judge’s finances and power in this town. I’d expect to see that this court plays a major role in this small town’s economy, so there’s no incentive to change it, and that gives this judge immense good ole boy power in this community.

  1. You wonder why law firms keep taking cases to east Texas, if their verdicts are so often overturned. Why spend thousands of man hours on a case you will likely lose on appeal… unless they are not working on contingency. It’s hard to figure.

    1. Because most lawsuits settle before the first trial or the parties reach a settlement agreement after the first verdict. In order to appeal a judgment, you have to post a bond, sometimes as large as the verdict itself. That is beyond the capabilities of most people/companies.

      Filing in the ED Texas is a strategic decision designed to make it very attractive for an accused infringing party to settle rather than fight, very possibly lose, and have to pay attorneys’ fees as well (their own and the patent troll’s).

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