Apple Faces Yet Another Patent Lawsuit in East Texas Over LTE Standards

by

Last week, we reported on Apple's plans to close its retail stores in the Eastern District of Texas in April in an effort to avoid patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction, perceived by many as being "patent troll friendly."


Ahead of the closures, Apple faces yet more patent litigation in the district. A group of limited liability companies under the Optis Wireless Technology, LLC umbrella filed suit against Apple on Monday in East Texas, accusing the company of infringing on a portfolio of seven patents related to LTE standards.

Optis Wireless and the other plaintiffs named in the complaint appear to be non-practicing entities that aim to generate revenue through patent litigation. These type of companies are commonly referred to as patent trolls.

The complaint, seen by MacRumors, alleges that all LTE-enabled Apple products, including various iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models, infringe on the LTE patents. Optis Wireless and the other plaintiffs acquired many of the patents from Ericsson, Samsung, LG, and Panasonic — read the full complaint [PDF] for the exact patents.

The plaintiffs state that, not later than January 6, 2017, they sent Apple correspondence in an effort to license their essential patents to Apple on FRAND terms. The plaintiffs also allege meeting with Apple representatives on numerous occasions, but the parties did not reach a licensing agreement.

The plaintiffs are seeking "recovery of damages at least in the form of reasonable royalties" and have demanded a jury trial.

Last August, in the same court, a jury decided that Huawei willfully infringed many of the same LTE patents being asserted against Apple. The Chinese smartphone maker was ordered to pay $10.6 million in damages.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 months ago

Please. This is total BS. Apple was planning to close those stores anyway due to any number of financial reasons, and they just decided to use the EDTX thing to distract people from the negativity of store closings or to score a few political points. There were only 7 cases filed against Apple in EDTX in 2018 - for a company as big as Apple that's nothing. Compare to 17 cases in WDTX and 23 cases in NDCal. EDTX is not a legally significant problem for Apple.

Apple Willow Bend was fully renovated just 2.5 years ago. And it’s in an affluent North Dallas suburb. Why would it close suddenly?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
Oh, just tell the courts we aren’t implementing LTE standards, we actually implemented 5G E standards.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago

Please. This is total BS. Apple was planning to close those stores anyway due to any number of financial reasons, and they just decided to use the EDTX thing to distract people from the negativity of store closings or to score a few political points. There were only 7 cases filed against Apple in EDTX in 2018 - for a company as big as Apple that's nothing. Compare to 17 cases in WDTX and 23 cases in NDCal. EDTX is not a legally significant problem for Apple.

407 million on just one case is significant for even Apple. It is why they are closing them. I’ve never seen them completely move out of an area that populated. It’s a very smart move on their part. They announced this less than a week after preemptively filing in a California court to clarify that they are not infringing on a troll’s patents. 4 days later the Troll filed in East Texas. This is a new aggressive strategy by Apple and a smart one. If trolls want to come at them do it on their turf. Part of the reason trolls argue to fight there was the number of tech cases heard there. A supposed experience level. Well, That dies now, because East Texas will not meet the standard of actively doing business there. That means they will have to go to the next Jurisdiction with experience. California or New York. Neither is troll friendly. Even Dallas proper is troll resistant. Can’t happen fast enough.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago

If you aren’t using the patent for, you know, an actual competing product to benefit consumers, then you shouldn’t be able to sue.

Impossible.

There's no way that every patent holder could possibly have their own product. Smartphones especially are not something simple with a single patent. They utilize tens of thousands of patented items.

Consider if you invented a way to speed up comms. Do you really think that you must go develop and sell your own smartphone to keep your patent? Of course not!

If you're licensing a patent to companies making products, then it IS being used.
[doublepost=1551242995][/doublepost]

Apple's excuse just doesn't pass muster.

Note that Apple itself never said it closed the stores due to EDTX lawsuits.

That was something that internet speculators came up with on their own.

Apple simply said it was consolidating its Dallas stores.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
If you aren’t using the patent for, you know, an actual competing product to benefit consumers, then you shouldn’t be able to sue.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago

Total number of cases might not be the best way to check this. How many questionable losses did they have there? That matters more.

That's really hard to gauge. Almost all litigation ends in voluntary dismissal or settlement. Apple has not anytime recently and publicly actually had to pay a big loss stemming from EDTX. Sure they've had big jury losses there, but none that actually ended up in payment for one reason or another. Apple is also a notoriously aggressive defendant. I highly doubt they're paying any nuisance troll settlements. They have the money and the motivation to file comprehensive IPRs and defeat the trolls that way.

The reason this logic is suspect anyway is because avoiding EDTX would not make Apple not get sued. EDTX is not an extreme outlier, as I said above, several other jurisdictions are plaintiff-friendly for one reason or another. The cases that would have been filed in EDTX can be filed in NDTX, MDFL, DNV, or DOR, where the outcomes and procedures would be nearly the same. So Apple is not saving any money on attorneys or anything by exiting EDTX; the same cases will be filed in other jurisdictions where Apple will have to defend themselves just the same.

Think about it - this rumor would have you believe that the total cost of EDTX litigation that could not be filed anywhere else exceeds the revenue that Apple gets from those two stores. That can't possibly be true! All that litigation would be filed somewhere else, and the 1% difference in plaintiff-friendliness maybe accounts for a few hundred thousand dollars in legal fees at most! Those stores definitely made more than that.

Indeed, if I was Apple, I would be most concerned about EDVA, where the patent rocket docket means discovery begins almost immediately, the judges don't like staying cases pending IPR, and judges do not take kindly to big corporations dragging their feed on responding to discovery requests. If I was a troll trying to get Apple to pay me $500k to go away real quick, I would file there and immediately serve Apple with fulsome discovery requests.

The most logical reason is exactly what Apple said - they're consolidated the Dallas area stores into a single store in Dallas. All this stuff about avoiding EDTX doesn't make any sense once you actually look at the facts.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Developers Begin Receiving Mac Mini With A12Z Chip to Prepare Apps for Apple Silicon Macs

Monday June 29, 2020 5:43 am PDT by
As part of WWDC last week, Apple announced that it will be switching to its own custom-designed processors for Macs starting later this year. As part of this transition, the company is allowing developers to apply for a modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip and 16GB of RAM to develop and test their apps on a Mac with Arm-based architecture. As noted on Twitter and in the MacRumors forums, some...

Kuo: Apple to Launch 10.8-Inch iPad Later This Year, 8.5-Inch iPad Mini in 2021

Sunday June 28, 2020 9:04 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch a new 10.8-inch iPad in the second half of 2020, followed by a new 8.5-inch iPad in the first half of 2021, oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo did not specify if the 10.8-inch iPad model will be a new version of the existing 10.2-inch iPad or the 10.5-inch iPad Air, but he has previously said that the 8.5-inch...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...

'iPhone 12 Pro' Models Could Be Capable of Shooting 4K Video at 120fps and 240fps

Monday June 29, 2020 3:57 am PDT by
Two new camera modes could be coming to some models of Apple's "iPhone 12," according to YouTube channel EverythingApplePro and Max Weinbach. Specifically, the video modes are said to include the ability to shoot 4K video at 120fps and 240fps. The new modes are thought to be coming to Apple's higher-end "iPhone 12 Pro" and "iPhone 12 Pro Max". Weinbach reportedly tore down the Camera app...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...