A U.S. federal judge threw out a $506.2 million patent damages award against Apple after ruling the company should have been able to argue that the owner of the patent, Optis Wireless Technology, was making unfair royalty demands, although the judge refused to throw out the liability finding.
Optis and its partners in the case, PanOptis Patent Management and Unwired Planet LLC, claimed that Apple’s smartphones, watches, and tablets that operate over the LTE cellular standard were using its patented technology.
U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap said the jury should have been allowed to consider whether the royalty demand was consistent with a requirement that standard-essential patents be licensed on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory,” or FRAND, terms.
After hearing post-trial arguments, Gilstrap said he’s “persuaded that the FRAND-compliance of the damages awarded by the jury has legitimately been called into question.” …Gilstrap, however, said a trial on liability “is neither necessary nor warranted.”
MacDailyNews Take: The judge made the right decision to toss the patent damages award against Apple as the jury never heard, much less considered FRAND, the crux of Apple’s argument.