Apple Ordered to Pay $532.9 Million in iTunes-Related Patent Lawsuit

itunesiconA federal jury in Tyler, Texas has ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC for using its patents without permission, reports Bloomberg. The court found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon the Texas-based company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems.

Apple argues that Smartflash is exploiting the patent system and plans to appeal the decision.

“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 was originally seeking $852 million in damages from Apple for infringing three patents, claiming that it was entitled to a percentage of sales of Apple products used to access iTunes, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple believed that $4.5 million was fair at most, arguing that it was not infringing upon the inventions and that the patents were invalid. Developers Game Circus and KingsIsle Entertainment Inc. were also defendants in the case but were later dismissed from the lawsuit.

“Apple doesn’t respect Smartflash’s inventions,” the company’s lawyer, John Ward of Ward & Smith in Longview, Texas, told the jury. “Not a single witness could be bothered with reviewing the patent.”

Smartflash has also sued Samsung Electronics in a separate lawsuit that is scheduled to begin following the end of this Apple trial. The patent licensing firm also recently filed against Google, which has attempted to move its lawsuit to California, and Amazon in December. This case is Smartflash LLC v. Apple Inc., 13-447, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Texas.

Top Rated Comments

samcraig Avatar
80 months ago
I think it's hard to comment on cases like this.

Just because it may appear like a money grab - doesn't mean it is. If there's a company or person that legitimately has a patent and wants to test the courts because they believe their patent holds up, they should have the right to do that. Apple's argument about creating job is irrelevant.

And honestly - Apple has sued plenty based on patents that other companies have probably "spent years innovating."

I don't fault Apple for fighting this either. If you believe you haven't "violated" patents that exists, you should take it to court as well.

But no doubt this thread will be filled with people crying patent trolls without knowing all the facts.

One of the ultimate truths is - there is often one (or similar) solution that makes sense and in this day and age - it's nearly impossible to NOT "violate" SOMEONE's patent. I would say this is done completely unknowingly. Not deliberately.

The problem is deeper - it's the patent system in general and how it currently works.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
80 months ago
let's make the faces of patent trolls popular so everyone will hate them in person.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DTphonehome Avatar
80 months ago
Isn't this one of those East Texas courts that are notoriously friendly toward patent trolls?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
80 months ago
Funny, Apple whining about someone suing it for using technology it invented.... Yea right.

Apparently Apple didnt invent the technology...This other firm was issued the patent for it. Seems they were first, or the company that they obtained the patent from was first. Apple's just mad that they got caught and their army of millionaire lawyers couldnt find a way to get them off the hook. Pay up.

Maybe they can do what samsung did, pay in nickels.

Samsung is the next to be sued. You'll be okay when Samsung has to pay $500 million or so too, right?

It's a PATENT TROLL. Everyone should be against them. They're thieves. That's all they are. It's a way a group of lawyers can get rich quick and HAMPERS innvoation.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Robert.Walter Avatar
80 months ago
They are basically calling the company a patent troll. They can't use those exact words without facing a defamation suit so they are sticking to factual claims.
Frankly, I don't understand the meme of patent troll, and why anybody who invents, patents, and defends their patents is automatically labeled troll for doing this if they are not a big name company.

Likewise, companies that buy and exploit patents for their economic potential, why are these labelled trolls? It's like those accused of infringement wave the troll card in an attempt to create a different class of patent holder, one not entitled to gain economic benefit from their IP nor be allowed to defend it.

If the idea of Intellectual Property is to have any value, and the process of protecting it, i.e. by patenting and defending it, and the process of it being portable through sale, assignment, or licensing, just like any other property is to have any meaning, we have to stop waving the troll flag any time the owner of a patent wants to assert the right to defend said patent when it feels that patent is being infringed.

To continue to say troll this and troll that and "it's a troll just because they are a foreigner, or don't manufacture, or don't create US jobs"*, is just stupid and undermines the whole idea of what a patented invention is.

* none of which are the basis of a patent award or the holder's right to defend.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
80 months ago
Patent Trolls.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...