Apple Threatens to Leave UK Market Due to $7 Billion Patent Dispute

Lawyers representing Apple have suggested that the company could exit the UK market if the terms of an ongoing patent dispute are "commercially unacceptable" (via This is Money).

regent street apple
UK patent holder Optis Cellular Technology is suing Apple for patent infringement after it refused to pay license fees worth around $7 billion for using "standardized" smartphone technology in its devices.

Last month, a British High Court judge ruled that Apple had infringed two Optis patents relating to technology that enables devices to connect to cellular networks. Optis has also made a number of additional claims about patent infringements from Apple. Kathleen Fox Murphy, a lawyer representing Optis, commented that "everyone thinks about Apple as the market leader in smartphones, but Apple has to buy in most of the technology in an iPhone."

Optis Cellular Technology and its sister companies, PanOptis, Optis Wireless Technology, Unwired Planet, and Unwired Planet International, are non-practicing entities that hold patents and generate revenue through patent litigation, otherwise known as patent trolls.

Last year, a Texas court fined Apple $506 million for willfully infringing on a handful of PanOptis patents related to 4G LTE technology.

Apple now faces a trial in July 2022 over how much it should pay to Optis for patent infringements in the UK. Last year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that a UK court can set the rate Apple should pay for all of its patents worldwide, even though the court considers the infringement of UK patents only.

At a hearing earlier this year, Mr. Justice Meade hinted that Apple "might be disappointed" by the rate ultimately set by a judge that it will be expected to pay. Apple would be able to avoid the sanction if it exits the UK market, but Meade suggested that this was unlikely, saying "There is no evidence Apple is really going to say no [to paying the rate set by the judge], is there? There is no evidence it is even remotely possible Apple will leave the UK market?"

In spite of this, the response from Apple's legal representation firmly laid out that leaving the UK market may become an unavoidable option for the company if the terms set by the court are "commercially unacceptable." Marie Demetriou, Apple's lawyer, said:

I am not sure that is right... Apple's position is it should indeed be able to reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market. There may be terms that are set by the court which are just commercially unacceptable.

The unprecedented threat highlights the possibility of Apple ending its sales in the UK, perhaps shuttering retail stores and curtailing services to existing customers. Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that Apple would follow through with the threat, not least because the UK is one of the company's biggest and most important markets. The App Store alone supports more than 330,000 jobs in the UK.

There will be a separate court case later this month to determine if Apple should make a legally binding commitment to abide by the payout rate decided at the trial next year. Should Apple refuse to make undertakings to the court, it may also be banned from selling infringing devices, such as the ‌iPhone‌, in the UK.

The dispute appears to be getting surprisingly heated for what would ordinarily be a fairly common patent troll case where companies acquire broad, standard-based patents with the hope of extorting money from other companies. Global pressure to rein in powerful big tech companies may have also escalated hostilities. Indeed, in the UK, Apple is currently being investigated for multiple allegations of anti-competitive conduct.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

markfc Avatar
11 months ago
I’d be tempted to leave the UK market too. ?
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dominiongamma Avatar
11 months ago

Apple sounds like a crybaby.
Or maybe the UK is bad and patent trolls ruin it for everyone

(Corrected the post)
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
krspkbl Avatar
11 months ago
this better not happen. i ****ing hate this country.


Not a good day for UK people ?⚽️
you do know that UK consists of 4 countries and 3 of them are happy after that football result, right?
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iLoveDeveloping Avatar
11 months ago
Hahaha Hilarious, is there nothing the UK hasn't ruined lately. Apple can gladly come to Ireland. I’d love to see some apple stores here.. ?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MLVC Avatar
11 months ago
"How dare the ECJ have jurisdiction over anything British".

UK court: the UK Supreme Court ruled that a UK court can set the rate Apple should pay for all of its patents worldwide

Never a dull day with the British.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrJM Avatar
11 months ago
Let’s be honest, they will never leave the UK. It’s ridiculous to even suggest it.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple glass enclosures patent main

Apple Researching All-Glass iPhone and Apple Watch Designs

Thursday November 18, 2021 8:55 am PST by
Apple has furthered its research on devices with all-glass enclosures, a newly granted patent filing shows. The patent, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Electronic device with glass enclosure" and was granted to Apple by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier today. The research focuses on electronic devices with six-sided glass enclosures and glass casings that...
apple logo us flag smooth

Apple Ranks Seventh With Over 2,500 U.S. Patents Granted in 2021

Monday February 14, 2022 8:43 am PST by
Apple was granted 2,541 patents in the United States last year, surpassed by only six other companies, IFI Claims reports. In its rankings of the top 50 U.S. patent assignees in 2021 (via Patently Apple), IFI Claims Patent Services shows that Apple was granted 250 fewer patents in 2021 compared to the previous year, a nine percent decrease. Even so, Apple moved one place up the rankings in...
iCloud General Feature

UK Network Operators Target iCloud Private Relay in Complaint to Regulator

Sunday March 13, 2022 3:48 am PDT by
A group of UK network operators have formally urged the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to regulate iCloud Private Relay, claiming that Apple's privacy service is anti-competitive, potentially bad for users, and a threat to national security. In its response to the CMA's Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, Mobile UK, a trade association of British mobile network operators,...
app store blue banner uk fixed

Apple Clashes With UK Regulator in Fierce Response to Warning That Could Require It to 'Redesign the iPhone'

Friday March 11, 2022 9:04 am PST by
Apple has aggressively defended its ecosystem in a newly-published response to the UK's competition watchdog. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today published Apple's response to its Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, as well responses from dozens of other companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Epic Games. The detailed 47-page response from Apple aggressively...
applewatchseries4lte

Apple Ordered to Pay Optis Wireless $300 Million in Second LTE Patent Trial

Monday August 16, 2021 1:39 am PDT by
Apple must pay $300 million in damages to Optis Wireless Technology for infringing a handful of patents related to 4G LTE technology, a Texas jury has ruled (via Reuters). In August 2020, a jury found that Apple had infringed five Optis wireless patents and awarded $506 million in damages, but a Texas judge vacated that award in April and ordered a new trial to focus on damages only. US...
credit kudos apple

Apple Acquires UK Banking Startup in Potential Hint at International Apple Card Launch

Wednesday March 23, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Apple has acquired Credit Kudos, a UK open banking startup that seeks to help lenders make better decisions (via The Block). Credit Kudos offers insights and scores based on loan applications drawn from transaction and loan outcome banking data, sourced by the UK's open banking framework. The company's API offers lenders a way to get faster, automated decision-making about loans with reduced ...
virgin media o2

UK's Virgin Mobile and O2 Network Users Won't Face EU Roaming Charges When Traveling Abroad

Monday January 10, 2022 3:16 am PST by
Users of Virgin Mobile and O2 networks based in the UK will not face EU roaming charges when traveling abroad, the company that owns both networks has announced (via BBC News). Based on an analysis of rates from other provides, Virgin Media O2 said a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see an extra £100 on their bill. As such, the company said it would not be re-introducing EU...
Apple Logo Cash Feature Yellow

Apple's $1.1 Billion Patent Dispute With Caltech Granted New Damages Trial

Friday February 4, 2022 7:27 am PST by
Apple and its supplier Broadcom today convinced a U.S. appeals court to reject a jury verdict that required them to pay $1.1 billion for infringing on Wi-Fi patents that belong to the California Institute of Technology (via Reuters). In 2016, Caltech accused Apple and Broadcom of infringing on its patents related to the Wi-Fi technology used in many Apple devices. Caltech's patents, granted...

Popular Stories

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...