Patent-licensing firm MobileMedia Ideas LLC has won an infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc., Bloomberg reports. A federal jury stated in its verdict that the Cupertino-based firm 'misappropriated protected technology for the handheld devices'. The report quoted MobileMedia Chief Executive Officer Larry Horn as saying in a courtroom interview after the trial, “We’re very pleased. We think it’s justified.”
Loses to patent licensing firm
Interestingly, it was in 2010 that Chevy Chase, Maryland-based MobileMedia filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the latter had infringed on 14 patents for electronics. In its complaint against Apple, MobileMedia pointed out that if Apple was allowed to use its patented technology in its iPhone without paying the royalties, they would suffer “irreparable injury”. Horn was quoted as saying that they are not in the 'litigation business' and that they are only looking at licensing their patents. Interestingly, the infringed patents were initially owned by Sony Corp. and Nokia Oyj, as per details in the court filings.
Reportedly, jurors in Wilmington, Delaware concluded at the end of a weeklong trial that the three patents weren't valid. Elaborating further on the outcome of the trial, the report shared that US District Judge Sue L. Robinson hasn't scheduled a trial for damages. Horn believes that the damages could be 'substantial'.
Elaborating upon the patents in discussion, Horn added that one of the patents is for the camera phone and the others pertain to call handling and call rejection. He, in fact, added that MobileMedia has a portfolio of about 300 patents. “MobileMedia told Robinson in a court disclosure statement that 10 percent or more of its stock is owned by Nokia, Sony Corp. (6758) of America and MPEG LA, a patent-licensing authority.” In an emailed statement, Steve Bauer, a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, commented, “This was a very difficult case. It required us to take the jury back to 1994-1998, when these technologies were first invented.”
Another firm Apple has locked horns with is Samsung. Recently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a first Office action asserting that a crucial Apple multitouch patent is invalid. In fact, the decision comes for the second time within two months. It was in late October that a first Office action asserted that all the 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent are invalid.
The first Office action in essence now puts aside all the 20 claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 on a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”. Interestingly, the patent was also being referred to as the “Steve Jobs patent”. The post goes on to add, “Once again, a first Office action tentatively invalidating a patent comes shortly after an infringement finding against Samsung: in late October a preliminary ruling by an ITC judge deemed this patent valid and held Samsung to infringe it (as well as three other patents). The ITC staff supports the judge's initial determination.”