A federal jury in Tyler, Texas has ordered Apple to pay $22.1 million to patent firm Acacia Research for violating U.S. Patent No. 8,055,820, related to cellular network technologies, according to court documents filed electronically this week. The monetary award is a running royalty for Apple's infringement through March 2016.

iphone-5s-acacia-research
The jury said Apple did not prove with clear and convincing evidence that any asserted claims of the patent are invalid as obvious or based on improper inventorship. Apple's infringement was found to be willful, which in patent litigation means the patent holder can request that the judge enhance the damages by up to three times, or up to roughly $66.4 million in this particular lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in January 2014, accused Apple of selling multiple products that infringe upon the patent, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad mini 2. U.S. Patent No. 8,055,820, titled "apparatus, system, and method for designating a buffer status reporting format based on detected pre-selected buffer conditions," is highly technical and at one point was assigned to Nokia.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Boost Mobile were also named as defendants for selling the infringing iPhones, but none of the carriers were named in the jury verdict. U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell presided over the case in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas, a popular region for non-practicing entities like Acacia Research and VirnetX to bring patent litigation against companies like Apple.

Acacia Research, based in Newport Beach, California, says it has returned over $705 million to patent owners. The corporation creates a subsidiary company for each set of patents it enforces through litigation, including Cellular Communications Equipment, LLC in this particular Apple lawsuit.

Our partnership with patent owners is the cornerstone of our corporate strategy. Acacia is an intermediary in the patent marketplace unlocking financial value in patented inventions.

Apple has not confirmed if it will appeal the decision.

Top Rated Comments

shanson27 Avatar
67 months ago
Patent trolls
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leroypants Avatar
67 months ago
Patent trolls
Obviously, anyone who sues Apple for stealing a patent is a patent troll and anyone who Apple sues for stealing a patent is 100% guilty all the time no questions asked.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
67 months ago
Apple generally engages in litigation over the unlawful use of Apple trademarks and copyrights such as product names, like iPod or iPhone. Apple is also a large company that, as a matter of business, does not "go after" smaller companies for the sake of monetary raiding.
Apple is no angel when it comes to IP.

Apple has gone after both small and large companies, for both trademarks and money.

Many people remember them going after a small coffee shop called "Apple Child" in Germany, and many of us remember them actually going after a New York City recycling initiative. Yes, NYC, the original "Big Apple", called that decades before Apple Inc ever existed.



Then there was the time that Apple suddenly removed a third party WiFi sync app from their app store, and later replaced it with their OWN WiFi sync app using almost the same icon.



Let's not even get into how Apple stole the names "iPhone" and "iOS", or how they cheated on their IP deal with Apple Records.

As for monetary gain, they tried to license their (some now invalidated) patents for things like slide-to-unlock to other phone makers for up to $40 a device (!!!), and when nobody would take them up on it, they took them to court... just like your so-called patent trolls do when someone refuses to license their own overpriced IP.

Then they had the gall to whine over paying much smaller royalties for actual IP needed to make a phone work.



Worst of all, Apple helped create one of the world's worst patent troll entities ever (Rockstar). They did this after spending billions to buy older Nortel patents. Rockstar only employed a dozen engineers dedicated to reverse engineering other companies' software to look for infringements they could sue over. Apple's part in this gives troll bashers zero moral ground to stand on.

Finally, the primary reason we see Apple get sued by patent holders so much, is because their policy is to ignore license requests until they are sued. So if you realized that Apple was using something YOU invented, you would have little choice but to sell your patent to a patent holding company large enough to try to fight Apple, because otherwise Apple would ignore you and use your IP without payment.

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
67 months ago
Technically no.
Unlike patent holding companies, these guys don't actually own the patents.
They are intermediaries for the patent owners.
They get a cut of any settlement/judgement.
No, they are patent trolls. Patent holding companies and patent assertion companies are considered patent trolls; not all, but most of them are. Acacia, by some accounts, is considered the #8 most dangerous patent troll. Their penchant for forming multiple LLC's for suing companies is pretty trolly. Licensing their patents isn't even a safeguard against being sued by one of their "subsidiaries". Both Apple and Microsoft have licensed patents from Acacia only to be sued later.

Was the patent holder doing anything with their invention? Was it a patent that Apple staff found in the US Patent Office? Did Apple staff read about the invention in some sort of journal? What was the publication? Did the inventor offer to sell it to Apple, with Apple declining and reverse engineering it?

What made the infringement willful?

I don't see answers to any of those questions. Doing a google search, all I could find was the same information on multiple sites. They read like a press release from this Acacia Research company ('http://acaciaresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/091516-Apple-CCE.pdf').
Afaik the original patent holder of 820 was Nokia, so the patent is valid. All your other questions are moot since Apple was already familiar with Acacia's patent portfolio as Apple had already been a licensee of some of their patents. IANAL, but willful infringement implies knowledge of the patent in question and unlicensed use regardless of that knowledge. If it helps you any, Acacia asserted 5 patents and only 820 passed the sniff test.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cineplex Avatar
67 months ago
DAMN Trolls! It is time we get proper legislation to stop patient abuse!
Or Apple could license things properly and not steal things that dont belong to them. You think they didn't know about this patten? Just sayin.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CrystalQuest76 Avatar
67 months ago
Was the patent holder doing anything with their invention? Was it a patent that Apple staff found in the US Patent Office? Did Apple staff read about the invention in some sort of journal? What was the publication? Did the inventor offer to sell it to Apple, with Apple declining and reverse engineering it?

What made the infringement willful?

I don't see answers to any of those questions. Doing a google search, all I could find was the same information on multiple sites. They read like a press release from this Acacia Research company ('http://acaciaresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/091516-Apple-CCE.pdf').
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...