U.S. appeals court tosses $533 million patent verdict against Apple

“A federal appeals court has thrown out a jury verdict that had originally required Apple Inc to pay $533 million to Smartflash LLC, a technology developer and licenser that claimed Apple’s iTunes software infringed its data storage patents,” Jan Wolfe reports for Reuters. “”

“The trial judge vacated the large damages award a few months after a Texas federal jury imposed it in February 2015, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said on Wednesday the judge should have ruled Smartflash’s patents invalid and set aside the verdict entirely,” Wolfe reports. “A unanimous three-judge appeals panel said Smartflash’s patents were too ‘abstract’ and did not go far enough in describing an actual invention to warrant protection.”

Wolfe reports, “The decision likely ends a case that had attracted wide attention when the verdict was rendered but had gone against the plaintiff ever since.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote as presciently as ever back in February 2015:

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

Apple makes excellent progress in bid to squelch $533 million verdict – June 1, 2016
On heels of $532.9 million verdict, Apple hit with second lawsuit from Smartflash – February 27, 2015
Apple plays the odds for overturning rocket docket’s $533 million verdict – February 26, 2015
Rocket docket jury orders Apple ordered to pay $532.9 million in patent trial; Apple to appeal – February 25, 2015


  1. Another indication that there are two ways for courts to approach intellectual property litigation. You can take a really long time, as in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, or you can do it fast, as in the Eastern District of Texas. The fast approach (“rocket docket”) gets reversed on appeal a lot more often because “slow and steady wins the race.” So, take your pick: accurate or fast. You can’t have both.

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