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

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    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."

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    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.

    Article Link: Apple Faces Yet Another Patent Lawsuit in East Texas Over LTE Standards
     
  2. dannyyankou macrumors 604

    dannyyankou

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    They won against Huawei, so they obviously have a good case. The question is whether Apple will settle or not.
     
  3. geolee11 macrumors newbie

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    Oh, just tell the courts we aren’t implementing LTE standards, we actually implemented 5G E standards.
     
  4. now i see it macrumors 68040

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    Lawsuits are a business expense. Come with the territory.
     
  5. mtneer macrumors 68030

    mtneer

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    I wonder if they’ll settle for $10 million as they did with Huawei or whether they will go or a percentage of revenue deal with Apple.
     
  6. macfacts macrumors 68030

    macfacts

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  7. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    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.
     
  8. Joe Rossignol Editor

    Joe Rossignol

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    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?
     
  9. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    Stores close for dozens of reasons. I just don't buy the one reason put forth - that it has to do with the EDTX judicial district because that reason makes no sense. There are other plaintiff-friendly districts, and merely taking EDTX off the table isn't going to make the trolls go away.
     
  10. rturner2 macrumors 6502a

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    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.
     
  11. genovelle macrumors 6502a

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    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.
     
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    What $407 million? Are you referring to the $440 million verdict in the VirnetX case? Apple doesn't actually have to pay that because the USPTO found the patents invalid, and CAFC affirmed. I follow this industry closely for my job, and Apple hasn't actually paid any major verdict anytime in the past several years.

    EDTX doesn't even have the highest claimant win rate. NDTX, MDFL, DNV, and DOR all have higher patent claimant win rates. EDVA is probably the fastest court, which is usually good plaintiffs. DED has the highest rate of making it to trial (in other words, least likely to dismiss a case or have a case settle). Is Apple going to close all their stores in all those districts too? No way.

    Also, those areas were not in an area any more populated than any other rural America area. It's has none of Texas' major cities. The county where Apple had those two stores, and the neighboring EDTX counties have a combined population of 1.1million. That's very little! Plus, Apple is opening a new store in a Dallas which is right nearby but happens to be in NDTX soon (note, NDTX has a higher patent plaintiff win rate than EDTX).

    Apple's excuse just doesn't pass muster. I don't claim to know why they chose to close those stores, but it's definitely not to avoid patent trolls. That's just their political cover probably for the fact that they'll be laying off a bunch of Texas retail workers. Given how their retail map looks, I would bet it didn't make financial sense to keep 3 stores so close to each other and it made sense to only keep the Dallas store.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 26, 2019 ---
    Yea, who cares about research universities and investors that provide capital to small startups? Nobody!
     
  13. surf2snow1 macrumors regular

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    Doesn’t matter if you buy it or not. That’s the only reason given and it is the most logical.
     
  14. Steve.P.JobsFan, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019

    Steve.P.JobsFan macrumors 6502a

    Steve.P.JobsFan

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    #14
    Because Apple said they're closing it? o_O

    Screen-Shot-2019-02-26-at-10-07-52-PM.png

    https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/02/23/apple-stonebriar-willow-bend-stores-closing-new-galleria-dallas/

    Edit: I think you might've been asking "why would it close suddenly" asides from the patent reason, and I misunderstood. Either way, I shouldn't use the Internet after a 10 hour shift at work, I clearly can't think right. :confused:
     
  15. Joe Rossignol Editor

    Joe Rossignol

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  16. kdarling, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019

    kdarling macrumors P6

    kdarling

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    #16
    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.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 26, 2019 ---
    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.
     
  17. H2SO4 macrumors 601

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    On the other side of the coin, if as a hardware or software company and you have patents that you haven't used, aren't using or will not use should you be able to defend if someone else infringes?
     
  18. timborama macrumors 6502

    timborama

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    Smart, Apple pre-announcing their store closures ahead. Gives all the potential lawsuits time to jump in. LOL
     
  19. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    It is the only reason given. It is not at all logical though.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 27, 2019 ---
    Ah the MR article didn’t make that clear. That makes sense, as I was wondering why Apple would ever give such an asenine reason for closing stores.

    Consolidating Dallas stores makes a ton more sense. There is no need for 3 stores in Dallas.
     
  20. thebeans macrumors 6502

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    Not going to happen I know, but there should be no such thing as patent trolls. If you own a patent, you should have to make things using that patent. Or sell it to someone who does. If you are a manufacturer you should be able to hold patents you may use in the future. Companies should not be able to simply hold patent so they can try to sue someone and no one should be able to hoard patents just so they can sue to make money
     
  21. redscull macrumors 6502a

    redscull

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    You don't have to make a retail product like a phone. Maybe you just make and sell a component, some small piece of a phone. But the patent trolls make literally nothing. Even inventing something for the sole purpose of licensing could count, but that's the other thing. Patent trolls aren't even inventors. They're just lawyers. They pay off the original inventors then try to make a buck through litigation. The whole system is to the benefit of lawyers, not innovation, not end consumers. If a company like Apple wasn't paying a license fee to the original inventor, that alone should be grounds for not having to pay anything to the trolls who bought the patents.
     
  22. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

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    And then maybe East Texas gets the memo and changes its practices so businesses don't flee it?
     
  23. cocky jeremy macrumors 601

    cocky jeremy

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    #23
    Total number of cases might not be the best way to check this. How many questionable losses did they have there? That matters more.
     
  24. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    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.
     
  25. RicD macrumors member

    RicD

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    #25
    “Apple stealing again”, hum what is “again” that Apple stole, will you describe what an “again” is that Apple stole? Or do you mean “Apple, again stealing”.

    No, Apple did not steal anything. Building anything electronic it is almost impossible unwittingly not to step on or miss some type of patent. Even with extreme due diligence patents could be missed. Also, just because a troll holds a company for ransome does not mean said company should rollover and pay nor that the suing company is in the right. Our patent system is broken.
     

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