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'patent' Articles

Caltech Accuses Apple of Violating its Patented Wi-Fi Technologies

Apple and Broadcom have been jointly named as defendants in a legal complaint filed by the California Institute of Technology last week over alleged infringement of its various patented Wi-Fi-related technologies. Caltech's patents, granted between 2006 and 2012, are highly technical and relate to IRA/LDPC codes that utilize simpler encoding and decoding circuitry for improved data transmission rates and performance. The technologies are implemented in both the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards used by many Apple products. In the court filing with the U.S. District Court for Central California, Caltech accused Apple of selling various iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch models, along with other Wi-Fi products, that incorporate these IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and thereby infringe upon the four asserted patents in question.Apple manufactures, uses, imports, offers for sale, and/or sells Wi-Fi products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents. Apple products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents include, but are not limited to, the following: iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2, MacBook Air [and] Apple Watch.Apple has at least temporarily pulled stock of its AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule Wi-Fi base stations from its U.S. stores, but it's unclear if the move is related. Broadcom, as one of Apple's main suppliers of Wi-Fi chips, is also

Apple Patent Details Smart Walkie-Talkie Lightning Headphones

An Apple patent was published today detailing a headset and communications platform that uses point-to-point network technology instead of cellular (via AppleInsider). The application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, called "Point-to-Point ad hoc voice communication", describes a headset invention capable of connecting with similar devices over local wireless ad hoc networks, or peer-to-peer links. The proposed headset comes with an assortment of audio hardware including the requisite microphone and speaker, and also features a communications module that enables it to interface with other headsets in close proximity. In some versions, the device connects via Lightning or standard headphone jack to a mobile device, allowing for the possibility of special interfacing software. The use of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols are favored over typical cellular or satellite communications, allowing for extremely low latency communications and reduced delay between devices in close proximity. The exhaustively detailed patent was drafted by a former Sennheiser engineer, and amounts to what could be described as an enhanced walkie-talkie system with touch-enabled, icon-based GUI for establishing connections between peers. As with all patents, the invention may never see the light of day in any consumer product, but the device does hold interesting possibilities for use by Apple Store staff or between development teams in Apple

Apple Patents Advanced iPad Covers With Customizable Displays and Notification Widgets

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes a collection of iPad-compatible Smart Covers that could integrate various display technologies to greatly enhance "the overall functionality of the tablet device." The original patent application was published in August 2012 and dates back to August 2011, four years before Apple introduced the original iPad Pro and its Smart Connector. (via Patently Apple). The first integration of a next-generation Smart Cover lies in video playback, where a user could watch a video with the cover folded up into a triangle like Apple's current Smart Covers allow, but now supporting a set of touch-sensitive areas for play, pause, fast forward, and rewind controls. Although the user would not be able to directly see where they were pressing down, "the size and location of the touch sensitive areas can allow for a user to easily learn the locations after a short familiarization period," according to the patent. Another suggestion for a Smart Connector-enabled cover has an internal display with "a completely customized control scheme," which would let users change up the cover's input to be anything from a traditional QWERTY keyboard to a sketchbook for artists. The addition of another screen of a size in comparison to the iPad's would introduce an iOS experience "much closer to the one enjoyed by laptop users." A Smart Cover with AMOLED display (left) and e-ink display (right) One of the more basic and interesting applications lies in a Smart Cover that could show notifications and

Apple Hit With $2.8 Billion Patent Lawsuit Over VoIP Technology

VoIP-Pal announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Apple in a U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking over $2.8 billion in damages for alleged infringement of its patented internet communication technologies. The Bellevue-based company calculated its $2,836,710,031 figure using a 1.25-percent royalty rate based on an apportionment of Apple's estimated historical profit from iPhone (55-percent), iPad (35-percent), and Mac (10-percent). VoIP-Pal (VPLM) has over a dozen issued or pending patents, primarily related to VoIP technologies, a few of which it accuses Apple of infringing upon with services like FaceTime and iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.Apple employs VPLM’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has widely distributed infringing products that have undermined VPLM’s marketing efforts. Instead of pursuing independent product development, Apple employed VPLM’s innovative caller attribute classification and routing product design, in violation of VPLM’s valuable intellectual property rights.The court filing cites multiple ways that Apple is allegedly infringing upon the patents, including the following iMessage claim:In particular, devices running the iMessage application initiate a communication between a caller and a callee. The callee may be an Apple subscriber or a non-subscriber. In the case that the callee is an Apple subscriber, the communication is sent using iMessage. On the other hand, if the user is not an Apple subscriber or if iMessage is not available, the communication is sent using SMS/MMS. Apple’s

Immersion Files Second Haptic Feedback Lawsuit Against Apple

Immersion, a company that develops and licenses haptic touch feedback technology, today filed a second lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, accusing the MacBook and MacBook Pro of violating one patent and the iPhone 6s of violating three additional patents not mentioned in the original lawsuit. According to Immersion, iPhone 6s and MacBook features like 3D Touch and the Force Touch trackpad infringe on its intellectual property. The four patents included in today's lawsuit are as follows: - U.S. Patent No. 8,749,507: "Systems and Methods for Adaptive Interpretation of Input from a Touch-Sensitive Input Device" - U.S. Patent No. 7,808,488: "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations" - U.S. Patent No. 8,581,710: "Systems and Methods for Haptic Confirmation of Commands" - U.S. Patent No. 7,336,260: "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations" The fourth patent is the one that Immersion accuses the MacBook, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro of violating, and AT&T, while named in the iPhone 6s claim, is not named in the MacBook infringement claim. According to Immersion, the Force Touch trackpad built into these products uses haptic feedback technology belonging to Immersion. Apple's Force Touch trackpad utilizes haptic feedback to mimic the feeling of pressing on a physical button. The trackpad is able to distinguish between a light press and a harder press, with the pressure-sensitivity used to enable different gestures. In the original lawsuit filed in February of 2016, Immersion accused Apple and AT&T of

Apple Looks to Streamline Clarification of Awkward Autocorrect Messages in New Patent Application

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently published a new patent application originally filed by Apple last July, detailing a system in which the receiver of an iMessage could be notified when pieces of the message are scrambled incoherently by the company's autocorrect system (via AppleInsider). The patent isn't a proactive solution to enhance the sometimes spotty nature of autocorrect, but simply a way to let the person on the other end of the text know what's happening, and give each user tools to better explain what they meant. Apple describes a new user interface that would highlight any words or phrases in a message that have been siphoned through autocorrect. The system wouldn't be advanced enough to reveal the specifically intentioned words the sender meant, but at least give the receiver a heads up about which parts of the text were corrected. A design of the sender-side UI Parts of the patent reveal iterations of the idea that can streamline the clarification process, as well. For example, a description of the sender-side user interface includes a prompt that pops up -- after a user taps on the autocorrected word -- with an option to "Send clarification" to the receiver. The canned message fills out the phrase, "I sent [wrong word], but I meant [correct word]." If they want a complete do-over, the user could also just opt to re-send the entire message. A design of the receiver-side UI On the receiver-side user interface, if the sender isn't opting to fix the issue themselves, the other person can "Request clarification" by tapping on the

Apple Patents Lightning Compatible Wired-Wireless Headphone System

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent today that describes a hybrid analog/digital stereo headphone system capable of switching seamlessly between wired and wireless audio modes (via AppleInsider). The patent for "Audio class-compliant charging accessories for wireless headphones and headsets" distinguishes the system from traditional headphones by its use of an electrical connector capable of transmitting both digital and analog signals, which would make it compatible with Apple's proprietary Lightning connector protocol. The wired contacts in the connector utilize "differential signaling" that enable it to transfer power and audio data through a single cable without compromising sound quality, while the wireless component of the headphones comprises an internal battery, processor, memory, and antenna for communicating with a source device such as an iPhone. Design details are sparse, but the patent notes that the hardware would fit into in-ear, on-ear and over-ear styles of headphones. As with all Apple patents, the usual caveat applies in that the invention may not see the light of day in any future product. That said, the system it describes is consistent with rumors that Apple plans to ditch the headphone jack for the fall 2016 iPhone 7 in favor of a Lightning-equipped headphone accessory or Bluetooth-based wireless listening solution similar to the Bragi Dash headphones.

Apple Wins Patent for Texture and Temperature Simulating Touch Surface

Apple has been granted a patent today for an invention that enables a touchpad or touch surface to simulate textures like cool metal and hot cement. The patent, originally filed in 2013 and called "Touch Surface for Simulating Materials" (via Patently Apple), appears in a series of 62 others published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and includes details on the mechanisms that would allow the touchpad to vibrate and change temperature. An "actuator" would allow at least a part of the surface to vibrate and simulate the tactile sensation of the texture, with rougher surfaces simulated by stronger vibrations. By varying the vibrations over time in response to a finger moving over the touch surface, the control actuator would even be able to simulate irregular textures such as wood grain. In combination with the actuator, a temperature control device could control the heat or coolness of the glass touch surface relative to the temperature of the detected contact. In one example, a layer of diamond material in the touch surface provides extremely high thermal conductivity, exceptional wear resistance and optical transparency. As with any filed patent, the technology is unlikely to appear in any product soon, if at all. But it does offer some insight into Apple's ideas about how it might innovate upon haptic technology in its devices with simulated touch. Last-minute rumors prior to the release of the third-generation iPad in 2012 suggested that the device could include haptic technology that would give on-screen objects texture, but the feature

Apple Watch Patent Turns Device into Urgent Care Alert System

An Apple patent application that could turn the Apple Watch into a fully fledged medical device was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. The application, titled "Care event detection and alerts", envisions a hardware system with the ability to monitor the surrounding environment for events that would require assistance from medical professionals, police, fire rescue or other emergency services. In one example, the device could be programmed to monitor a user's heart for arrhythmia and send out an alert to a spouse or emergency responder in the event of detection. As noted by AppleInsider, the Apple Watch is not specifically mentioned in the document, but the device would likely fit the requirements of the system's goals, thanks to its advanced sensors and monitoring hardware. In practice, a wearable and a host device could work in combination to detect a care event. For instance, an iPhone's accelerometer might detect a sudden change in acceleration in tandem with a loss of heart rate detection on an Apple Watch, signaling a cardiac arrest. When a care event is detected, an alert is sent out by the system to a "care list", or predefined set of recipients established by the user or included in a device preset. The patent application notes that fine tuning of the system would be necessary to prevent false alarms, and that building a hierarchy into the care list could allow for a staggered escalation of response. For example, a user's spouse or family might be included in the first level for contacts for mid-severity

Apple Granted Patent for Liquidmetal Home Button on iOS Devices

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a series of 40 new patents, including one that describes various implementations and benefits of a Liquidmetal home button on iPhones and iPads. Liquidmetal alloys, otherwise known as "bulk solidifying amorphous alloys" in the patent filing (via Patently Apple), have a number of unique properties, including high strength, corrosion resistance, light weight, and malleability. Apple has annually renewed its exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal since 2010, but how it plans to use the alloys remains unclear. Early speculation centered around Apple using Liquidmetal for the iPhone SIM Tool, while other Liquidmetal home button patents have surfaced as early as 2014. Meanwhile, Steve Zadesky, named on this and other Liquidmetal patents, recently announced he was leaving Apple. Today's patent explains how Liquidmetal's high elasticity makes it an ideal material for a pressure-sensitive home button that would deform slightly when pressed, but return to its normal shape when you remove your finger or thumb. Liquidmetal would always retain this elasticity, while other materials like titanium or stainless steel could become irreversibly deformed and adversely affect the home button. A second embodiment of the patent details a home button with a switch comprising a small actuator positioned adjacent to Liquidmetal material, whereby pressing the actuator deforms the bulk solidifying amorphous alloy. The efficient design could be easier for Apple to manufacture compared to conventional pressure-sensitive home buttons

Future Apple Watch Could Adjust iPhone Volume Based on Ambient Noise

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent filed by Apple in March 2014, which depicts an Apple Watch automatically adjusting an iPhone's audio volume or other alert characteristics based on ambient sound samples (via AppleInsider). The invention would be most useful in noisy environments where alerts might otherwise go unnoticed or unheard. The system could also serve to automatically lower iPhone ringtone or notification volume in quieter situations. The patent details an Apple Watch using its microphone to listen to ambient sound at regular intervals or when triggered to do so by a host device. Using the data collected, the Watch analyses the difference between the background noise and the alert audio level, and makes a volume adjustment accordingly. The system is also able to work out the iPhone's orientation and location in relation to the user's body, including whether the handset is tucked in a pocket or stowed away in a bag, in order to account for physical sound barriers. In one example, an iPhone sends a notification audio signal to the Watch before playing an audible alert. The receiving timepiece analyses the wave signal and compares it against a stored reference signal based on ambient noise samples. Through a combination of sound threshold analyses, the Apple Watch then sends the appropriate command to raise or lower the iPhone's output volume. The invention could also be used to filter audio signals received by voice-activated control functions -- for example, by increasing the physical distance that a user can

Apple Says U.S. Supreme Court Should Reject Samsung's Appeal Request

In December, Samsung asked the United States Supreme Court to hear a final appeal in its ongoing patent battle with Apple, which would potentially nullify a $548 million settlement awarded to Apple. In a lengthy document filed with the court this afternoon (via Foss Patents), Apple urges the Supreme Court to deny Samsung's request, accusing the company of raising issues that do not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong court proceedings. Samsung has claimed that the jury did not adequately understand the patents in question because members weren't provided with enough explanation by the court. The South Korean company has also suggested the case has wider implications that could encourage design patent trolls, an assertion Apple refers to as a "doomsday warning" based on "extreme hypotheticals."Samsung's effort to make this case seem certworthy depends on a made-up narrative in which Samsung, not Apple, is the innovator, despite the overwhelming evidence that Samsung copied the iPhone's innovative design. [...] Once Samsung's diversions are swept aside as they should be, the actual issues it presents do not deserve review. The decisions below broke no new legal ground; they simply applied the statute and well-settled law to the extraordinary record of infringement and copying in this case.Apple goes on to say that Samsung has had its day in court and while the litigation is "high-profile," it is "legally unexceptional" and Samsung has not presented a legitimate reason as to why the court should prolong it. While Apple doesn't feel Samsung's case is worth the

Apple Patents Hover-Sensing Multi-Touch Display for Macs and iPhones

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent filed by Apple last March, which details how inline proximity sensors could be used in tandem with a touchscreen display to detect non-contact hover gestures (via AppleInsider). The patent, titled "Proximity and multi-touch sensor detection and demodulation", reveals how photodiodes or other proximity hardware work in parallel with traditional multitouch displays to extend user interaction beyond the screen surface. One embodiment of the patent describes a capacitive sensing element, using a range of proximity sensors and an LCD display, that would let users deploy gestures above a traditional keyboard, resulting in a "virtual keyboard". With multiple proximity arrays deployed on every touch sensor or pixel of the panel, the system can detect a finger, palm or other object hovering over the display surface. The detected motion is then translated to a GUI by which users can "push" virtual buttons, trigger functions without physical touch, toggle power to devices and more. Various configurations of the technology are outlined in the patent, including one which describes a MacBook featuring assistive hover-sensing displays that augment typing and trackpad input. As with any filed patent, the technology is unlikely to appear in any product soon, if at all, especially given that Apple only recently introduced 3D Touch support and is still actively encouraging app developers to make more use of the feature. Apple has expressed interest in non-contact user interfacing and motion control

Apple Watch 'Magnetic Wristband' Patent Could Double as Protective Case

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent filed by Apple last August, which detailed an Apple Watch band accessory that could double as a "protective cover" for the device itself when not on a user's wrist (via AppleInsider). Referred to as the "Magnetic wristband," the accessory would be similar in function to the Leather and Milanese Loop bands sold today but include multiple "configurations" to introduce more utility to users. The first configuration would essentially turn the band into the Apple Watch's own protective casing, coiling around the device and linking together magnetically the same way it would when placed on a wrist. The patent iterates on the fact that when removed, the Apple Watch "can be subjected to even greater forces and damage than when worn by the user," and as such, a way to protect the wearable device without any outside, third-party equipment could be greatly beneficial to each wearer. Another configuration of the proposed band includes multiple ways to display the watch when it's not in use on a wrist. Using the band's magnetic technology, Apple's patent proposes simple solutions of being able to attach the entire product onto surfaces like a refrigerator or computer's bezel to keep it in sight. Another idea suggests the magnetic wristband could be rolled up into itself to create a sort of on-the-fly stand for the Apple Watch. As with any patent story, the magnetic wristband is far from a confirmed lock for the upcoming "Apple Watch 2," but since it's long been rumored the company will most likely

Biometric Sensor Company Valencell Accuses Apple of Stealing Technology for Apple Watch

Biometric sensor company Valencell today filed a lawsuit against Apple (via AppleInsider), accusing the Cupertino-based company of patent infringement, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract, all related to dealings Apple had with Valencell before the launch of the Apple Watch. According to Valencell, Apple expressed interest in its PerformTek heart rate sensor technology starting in 2013, leading Valencell to believe Apple would license PerformTek technology for the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor. Apple met with Valencell in 2013 and late 2014 to discuss incorporating PerformTek-powered features into the Apple Watch and is said to have expressed "great interest" in Valencell's wrist-based heart rate-sensing technology. Valencell demonstrated a prototype PerformTek-powered watch in 2013 to 15 Apple employees and later sent Apple PerformTek products to test and examine in detail. Valencell believes Apple deceptively solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement despite having no intention to actually license the technology. Furthermore, Valencell accuses Apple of deciding it was more financially beneficial to risk infringing on Valencell's patents than to license them.Apple did not have an intention of licensing Valencell's PerformTek Technology. Instead, Apple's interaction with Valencell was fueled by a business decision that the benefits of infringing upon Valencell's patented technology outweigh the risk of being caught and ultimately forced to pay damages. This practice is consistent with the

Apple and Ericsson Settle Litigation With Global Patent License Agreement

Ericsson announced today that it has reached a seven-year global patent cross licensing agreement with Apple for standard-essential technologies, including GSM, UMTS and LTE cellular standards, thereby settling all litigation between the two technology companies. Apple will make an upfront payment to Ericsson and continue paying royalties on an ongoing basis. The terms of the agreement are confidential, but investment bank ABG Sundal Collier believes Apple could be charged around 0.5% of iPhone and iPad revenue, per Reuters. The licensing agreement applies to several technology areas, including 5G development, video network traffic management and wireless network optimization, and grants certain other undisclosed patent rights. The deal ends all litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. District Courts and European courts."We are pleased with this new agreement with Apple, which clears the way for both companies to continue to focus on bringing new technology to the global market, and opens up for more joint business opportunities in the future," said Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson.Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson in January 2015, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 to $750 million in annual royalties for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Apple declined to honor those demands. Ericsson subsequently sued Apple again in February

Apple Patents Touch ID 'Panic Mode' for Instant Access to Emergency Services

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent application initially filed by Apple in May of 2014, describing a method for users to designate a specific finger to unlock an iPhone with using Touch ID, which would then cause the iPhone to enter a "panic mode" (via Business Insider). The mode could then tell the iPhone to completely lock down, limiting access to personal data if a user is being forced to unlock their iPhone. Currently, Apple allows users to enter up to five different fingerprints to unlock an iPhone, so users would just have to designate which is the "emergency" print in the Touch ID settings menu. Apple's patent describes a situation in which a thief attempts to rob someone's iPhone from them to gain access to their personal and private data stored within, and the user being robbed quickly placing the panic mode finger on Touch ID so the thief can't access any data. The company is going one step further with the patent application, however, describing a way in which the activation of panic mode turns on the iPhone's camera and microphone to capture a robbery or crime as it happens and sending all the data to both a user's iCloud account and possibly even local police. Another section of the patent details a possible way for the device in panic mode to act as a beacon, alerting nearby devices (other iPhones, computers, etc) to a possible crime in their vicinity so they can alert the authorities and come to the panic mode activator's aid. In some embodiments, the mobile device 104 may be activated into the panic mode in

Apple Patents Switch-Less Force Touch Keyboard, Could Lead to Thinner Macs

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a low-travel keyboard design with Force Touch-like sensors that measure the pressure placed on a key when a user presses or rests a finger on it. As summarized by AppleInsider, the exhaustive patent filing details how the keyboard would have a switch-less QWERTY input mechanism, rather than mechanical switches, allowing for less key travel and potentially thinner Mac keyboards.Apple's current MacBook and Mac accessory lineups employ modified scissor switches, or butterfly switches on the 12-inch Retina MacBook, nestled within hollow key caps. Today's patent mirrors the aesthetic of existing designs, but deviates from established technology by replacing mechanical switches for a stack of sensors, actuators and supporting circuitry. Theoretically the system operates akin to Apple's Force Touch trackpads, but on a much larger scale; one force sensor package for each keyboard key. Force sensors configured to measure downward pressure are integrated beneath the keyboard's key caps, while integrated actuators — part of the key stack — generate haptic feedback.The patent filing does not guarantee that Apple will release a Force Touch keyboard, but a pressure-sensitive keyboard is plausible alongside the Magic Trackpad and Force Touch trackpads on MacBooks. Apple's new Retina MacBook has been criticized by some over its all-new butterfly mechanism keyboard, which has low key travel, so whether Apple implements this new keyboard design into the rest of its MacBook lineup remains to be seen.

Apple Loses A7/A8 Patent Lawsuit, Could Owe University of Wisconsin Up to $862 Million

Last year, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which protects the University of Wisconsin's intellectual rights and patents, sued Apple for infringing on one of its processor patents. According to the lawsuit, Apple used the University's technology in its A7, A8, and A8X processors included in the 2013 and 2014 iPhone and iPad lineup. A Wisconsin jury today found Apple guilty of infringing on the patent owned by WARF, reports Reuters, and as a result, the Cupertino-based company could be forced to pay up to $862 million in damages. The jury also ruled that the patent was valid, negating Apple's argument that it was invalid and no infringement had taken place.Cupertino, California-based Apple denied any infringement and argued the patent is invalid, according to court papers. Apple previously tried to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the patent's validity, but in April the agency rejected the bid. According to a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley, who is presiding over the case, Apple could be liable for up to $862.4 million in damages.Granted in 1998, the patent in question covers a method for improving processor efficiency and is titled "Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer." It lists several current and former University of Wisconsin researchers as inventors. Now that the jury has decided Apple used the university's technology in its processors, the trial will move on to decide the damages owed. Following that, there will be a third trial phase to determine whether Apple

Judge Drops Apple's $533M Fine in iTunes-Related Lawsuit, Sets New Damages Trial

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday voided $532.9 million in damages awarded to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in February in an iTunes-related patent lawsuit, per Reuters. The report claims federal judge Rodney Gilstrap has set a new damages trial on September 14 after ruling that "his jury instructions might have 'skewed' jurors' understanding of the damages that Apple should pay." Apple was initially ordered to pay $532.9 million in damages to Smartflash LLC after a federal jury in the Tyler, Texas courtroom found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon the company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems. Apple countered that Smartflash LLC was exploiting the patent system to collect royalties.“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.”Smartflash LLC was originally seeking $852 million in damages, and claimed it was entitled to a percentage of sales of Apple products used to access iTunes, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple argued that $4.5 million was fair at most, claiming it does not infringe upon any of Smartflash LLC's inventions and that its patents are invalid. Apple likely still faces