On Friday, Apple Inc lost a key patent battle against patent-licensing firm MobileMedia Idas LLC, with a federal jury in Wilmington, Delaware, deciding after a weeklong trial that Apple had misappropriated three protected patents for handheld devices, and used them in iPhone. Apple had contended that the patents were invalid, but the jury said no.
In a courtroom interview after the trial, MobileMedia CEO Larry Horn said that the company was pleased with the decision. Horn hinted that the damages could be substantial though U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson was yet to schedule a trial on damages.
MobileMedia had sued Apple in 2010 alleging that Apple Inc had infringed 14 patents for electronics. The complaints ultimately were boiled down to three key patents, which the court allowed in trial. Using the same argument that Apple keeps using against its competitors, MobileMedia submitted that it would suffer “irreparable injury” if Apple continued use of the patented inventions in iPhones without paying royalties due to MobileMedia.
The patents at issue were originally owned by Nokia and Sony. MobileMedia is a patent licensing company, with 10 percent of its stock being owned by Nokia, Sony America and MPEG LA. Currently, the company has a profile of about 300 patents.
The three patents are related to call handling, call rejection and camera phone. According to analysts the legal battle was difficult as essentially the jury had to revisit the time when these technologies were evolving and being invented.
The MobileMedia CEO emphasized, “We’re not in the litigation business” and the company just wanted to license the patents and get its due royalties.
The case is MobileMedia Ideas LLC v. Apple Inc., 10-cv-258, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
The news was first reported by Bloomberg News.