Patent Licensing Company WiLan Wins $145.1 Million From Apple in Patent Dispute

A Southern California jury has awarded Canadian patent holding company WiLan $145.1 million in an ongoing patent dispute with Apple, WiLan announced today.

Apple's iPhones were found to infringe on two patents (No. 8,457,145 and No. 8,537,757) related to wireless communications technology.


WiLan, a company owned by Quarterhill, describes itself as "one of the most successful patent licensing companies in the world."

Apple's legal dispute with WiLan has been going on since 2010, when WiLan claimed Apple had violated one of its Bluetooth related patents. In a case separate from today's, WiLan had demanded $248 million in damages from Apple, a battle that it lost in 2013 when a a jury ruled in Apple's favor.



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10 months ago



WiLan, a company owned by Quarterhill, describes itself as "one of the most successful patent licensing companies in the world”


Well, don’t they just sound like an upstanding, productive corporate citizen... /s
Rating: 16 Votes
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10 months ago

I don't have the same problem others have with patent holding companies since patents are property to be bought and sold. One wonders how many patents they purchase to win the occasional large public jury award. I suspect the rate of return is not crazy big.

Patent holding companies are part of the problem because they are non practicing entities.
AMD makes an x86 chip. intel says “we own the x86 instruction set.”
AMD says “you make chips using x86-64, and we hold the patent.”
An agreement is reached and innovation continues.

Patent holding companies are just lawsuit engines stifling innovation. They would be LESS trouble if bs patents weren’t being awarded, like Amazon’s patent on photographing a subject against a white background (yes, it’s real) in spite of the fact that there is prior art for more than 100 years before Amazon was formed.
Rating: 5 Votes
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10 months ago
$2 increase per iPhone. Pass it onto the user.
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago
keeping the lawyers employed
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
Its interesting that this case came through a court in California - Apple land (albeit Southern California) and not the patent troll district in East Texas. I would have expected the judges to be more receptive to donors and companies who they'd need for reelection in California...
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
More fuel for them to keep lawsuits going.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
It would be interesting to know what all the legal fees (and Apple attorney salaries) in these cases add up to. If this has been going on for 7 years, it can't be cheap. Is it more than they’re paying in damages?
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Its interesting that this case came through a court in California - Apple land (albeit Southern California) and not the patent troll district in East Texas. I would have expected the judges to be more receptive to donors and companies who they'd need for reelection in California...


Please read the article. It was a jury. A judge can't just dismiss the verdict of a jury at will.
Rating: 1 Votes
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10 months ago

You raise a lot of straw men and then push them over with myths.

Samsung hasn't paid out a penny of that verdict, and they won't.

The "electronic shopping cart" guy had his patent destroyed by Newegg, and he keeps losing in court, so no, "they don't keep getting awarded".

The bank-suing guy sued for a trillion dollars, which is not even a bazillion, so no big deal. This guy could only possibly win if the banks were using his exact code, assuming he had a valid patent or could prove they unlawfully appropriated his trade secrets. And he hasn't won because they're not using his code.

Further, the courts since about 2005 have rejected 80% of software patents.


The Samsung vs Rembrandt bluetooth case is still ongoing, but Samsung lost AGAIN this year and was re-ordered to pay $11 million. http://ghiplaw.com/samsung-to-pay-11m-to-rembrandt-wireless-for-infringement-of-bluetooth-patents/

Samsung maintains an outdoor ice skating rink in Marshall, Texas (something John Oliver compared to maintaining a bowling alley in space). Keeping an Ice skating rink running in 100F+ costs more than a penny.
$500,000 scholarships they award, again in Marshall, Texas is (wait a sec, let me run the numbers... yes, $500,000 is more than $0.01) more than a penny.
Legal Retainers are you guessed it, more than a penny. Samsung doesn't have a corporate anything in Marshall, so do you think they have a reason for for all this charity. They actually have a FAB in Austin, but no outdoor skating rinks here.

As for the electronics shopping cart guy ...
Victoria's Secret and Avon were ordered to pay Soverain a total of almost $18 million, plus a "running royalty" of about one percent, after a 2011 trial.
Newegg finally beat them, but not before Soverain had already picked a fight with the biggest kid on the playground and won. The first company it sued was Amazon; Soverain scored ('http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2002435599_amazon12.html') a $40 million settlement from the giant retailer back in 2005. The Gap also settled for an undisclosed sum. If you consider $40 million less than a penny, I will trade you a penny RIGHT NOW for $40 million US.

Not straw men or myths, actual court cases that actually have to be defended. These are the big numbers. When they go after smaller guys, it doesn't usually make headlines. More and more they go after little guys with no lawyer on retainer.
Smaller and smaller companies are being targeted. In a paper on “Startups and Patent Trolls ('http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2146251'),” Prof. Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University found that 55 percent of defendants to patent troll suits are small, with less than $10 million in annual revenue. Even in the tech sector, a full 40 percent of the time, respondents to patent threats are being sued over technology that they use (like scanners or Wi-Fi) rather than their own technology.

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/on-air/as-seen-on/207822311.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/07/15/patent-trolls-now-account-for-67-percent-of-all-new-patent-lawsuits/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ead930ccb76a

So yeah, it is a problem and it affects all of us. Hell, ask your precious Samsung what they think of trolls.
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Sony and Microsoft were sued by Immersion, not Nintendo, for a specific tactile feedback man-machine interface they copied. Microsoft settled out of court, and Sony continued to sell its product but eventually lost on appeal. Sony and Immersion exchanged patent licenses.

Contrary to your statement, patents aren't "nebulous", they're specific. It's too bad that most people never get past the forum post or headline in which the inflammatory statements are made. Not that there haven't been bad patents awarded, but most are worthy.

As to Amazon't patent, the devil is in the claims, to wit, Claim 2, which says in part "a top surface of the elevated platform reflects light emanating from the background such that the elevated platform appears a substantially similar color as the background and a rear edge of the elevated platform is substantially imperceptible to an image capture device positioned at the image capture position. Claim 3 [I](a dependent claim) says: "The studio arrangement of claim 2, wherein the first distance is about 4.5–5.5 times a height of the top surface of the elevated platform."
[/I]
The patent only has value for product photography. Even so, if the rear edge of the platform is not "substantially imperceptible" to the camera positioned precisely where the claims state, or if the rear light is less than 4.5 or more than 5.6 times the height of the platform top, there is no infringement. A photographer is not prevented from making a photograph in any other way than the specifics of that--assuming it's upheld on appeal. Further, realistically, Amazon would have an impossible time investigating every photo with a white background to see if it somehow violated one of their claims. So good luck with that.

Not to mention the digital photo wizardry software that will make such arcane claims obsolete in a few short years.

It will never be used in a lawsuit, and even if it was, damages would have to be based on harm of the commercial use by the infringer, assuming a judge or jury could establish a value for that specific infringement in comparison to the value of the photograph itself, barring willful infringement.


And still regarding the Amazon patent, this technique has been in use for a century before Amazon was founded. That they spelled out the exact numbers does not change the fact that photographers have been doing that for a VERY long time.
Rating: 1 Votes
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10 months ago

More fuel for them to keep lawsuits going.


And your point? The company owns the patent,..so why shouldn't they. Apple has done the same with Samsung & other companies.

Apple should have settled prior. Stubborn & stupid!
Rating: 1 Votes
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