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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).

applewatchseries4lte.jpg

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 District Judge Rodney Gilstrap said the first jury was unable to determine if the amount was awarded on the FRAND terms (a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis) usually required in standard essential patent cases.

PanOptis and its sister companies, Optis Wireless Technology, Optis Cellular 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.

In a statement, Apple said: "Optis makes no products and its sole business is to sue companies using patents they accumulate. We will continue to defend against their attempts to extract unreasonable payments for patents they acquire."

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

Freeangel1

Suspended
Jan 13, 2020
751
1,099
now we know why APPLE is trying to save money on the manufacture of Lenses for the future iPhones and having humans assemble the camera lenses of future iPhones when in the past they were shipped pre assembled.

The failure rate on the camera section on future iPhones is likely to get much higher at the cost of saving money to pay LARGE Lawsuits.
 

sinoka56

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2013
259
446
If Optis releases a one limited edition item that uses the patent, would people stop calling them a patent troll?
 

Kung gu

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
1,375
2,386
now we know why APPLE is trying to save money on the manufacture of Lenses for the future iPhones and having humans assemble the camera lenses of future iPhones when in the past they were shipped pre assembled.

The failure rate on the camera section on future iPhones is likely to get much higher at the cost of saving money to pay LARGE Lawsuits.
I don't think so, Apple has enough money to withstand billion dollar lawsuits.
 

Expos of 1969

Contributor
Aug 25, 2013
3,250
6,152
I still don't understand how a company with no actual operations and don't sell anything can be found to be damaged... what a mad world.
Quite simple. When a company owns a patent and another company illegally infringes on that patent, there is a price to pay. Would you prefer a world in which there are no legal ramifications for breaking a law?

Apple has quite a sleazy history in this department.
 

Expos of 1969

Contributor
Aug 25, 2013
3,250
6,152
If you invented something, you'd see it differently. Just because you don't make a product doesn't mean you shouldn't have rights to something you create.
Even if the current patent holder did not invent what the patent covers, as long as they acquired the patent legally from another party, the patent should not be infringed upon by a third party. Some folks may disagree but that is the current law and Apple knows damn well.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,383
685
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I still don't understand how a company with no actual operations and don't sell anything can be found to be damaged... what a mad world.
I'll caveat this with: I'm not defending patent trolls. I despise them, think they are leeches harming the technology industry and society as a whole, and also think the entire patent system is rather broken and in all likelihood this particular patent shouldn't exist in the first place for any or all of a variety of reasons.

But, you can think of it this way (leaving non-practicing entities out of it): I have a brilliant idea for a widget. I develop the idea to the point that I know how to build the widget and patent it. The widget, however, requires a bunch of manufacturing, marketing, and distribution infrastructure to actually make money off of, which I don't have, so I offer the widget idea up for licensing if anybody else wants to use it to make money.

Company A says "Sure! Here's $100 million for a non-exclusive license to manufacture the widget you developed."

Company B says "Screw you, we're just going to build the widget anyway and not pay you."

In that scenario, it's pretty clear how you were being "damaged" by Company B, although you don't actually make anything yourself. In that scenario, Company A is also getting damaged, since their version of the same widget is going to cost more since they paid the license for it and Company B is flouting the patent and using it for free.

By extension, then, if Company A doesn't exist and Company B does and does the same thing, you have a situation where a company decided to "steal" your idea instead of paying, even though you weren't making anything with it, so there's a pretty clear argument to be made that you've been damaged.

By extension, if Company C says "Well, we don't have any manufacturing ability ourselves, but we're good at licensing to manufacturers, so we'll pay you $150 million for the patent because we think we can get other companies to pay more than that later," then it's totally legit for you to sell your widget plan to them for $50 million, and totally legit for them to expect to be able to license it to Company A and B for $100 million each. If Company A pays and Company B doesn't, you're out $50 million on your speculative venture despite both companies selling the widget that you paid a boatload of money for the rights to.

Since this is (I think?) a FRAND patent, it's part of a standard so companies are expected to be offered a fair and non-discriminatory licensing fee to use it, but if they don't pay when everybody else did, then they're getting an unfair advantage. In this case something to do with the implementation of LTE, which in theory other companies using the same technology are paying. Being patent trolls, who knows--it's totally possible that they only sue the big targets in Payday District, Texas, and completely ignore everybody else.

You could also use the analogy for copyright. If I write a book and nobody wants to publish it, I have no actual operations and $0 in sales, I just have a manuscript. But if one of the publishers turns around and publishes it without paying me, then I've been plenty harmed. This one actually does happen.
 

steve09090

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2008
298
712
While I completely agree that patent trolls are the scorch of this world...Apple isn't much better subtracting cash/nickel-and-diming customers.
Except they give people a choice. Apple have improved communications using some of these patents. Sure they need to pay for their use, but the idea of having a business designed to sue is abhorrent. But we all know lawyers have had a race to the bottom.
 
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steve09090

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2008
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Company A says "Sure! Here's $100 million for a non-exclusive license to manufacture the widget you developed."

Company B says "Screw you, we're just going to build the widget anyway and not pay you."

Etc…
Well explained. I like your analogies.
 
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justperry

macrumors G5
Aug 10, 2007
12,161
9,272
I'm a rolling stone.
Except they give people a choice. Apple have improved communications using some of these patents. Sure they need to pay for their use, but the idea of having a business designed to sue is abhorrent. But we all know lawyers have had a race to the bottom.
Wasn't my point.
Extracting too much cash was my point, for things like not having a hole inside the AirTags for instance just so that they can extract even more money, or extortionate RAM prices, you can't change RAM later on.

I understand the way patent trolls work, a shame the patent system is completely messed up nowadays.
 

Armada2

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2011
64
165
If Optis releases a one limited edition item that uses the patent, would people stop calling them a patent troll?
They wouldn't be able to lol because 1. they would have to spend on R&D so spend more money than they can, 2. negotiate with other companies either reasonable rates, or exchange patents but if your patents are so generic etc then you have no leg to stand on.
 
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MGrayson3

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2013
91
272
Using "it's against the law" is a tricky argument. The law is interpreted differently in different districts. You may notice that all these decisions come from a single district in Texas that has made a business of deciding in favor of patent trolls.
 

Kkspire

macrumors regular
May 19, 2016
157
440
If you invented something, you'd see it differently. Just because you don't make a product doesn't mean you shouldn't have rights to something you create.
They didn’t invent anything. And buying a piece of some idea and charging a gazillion dollars doesn’t meant it’s right. Think about epipens, and the new ceo raising prices to 900 bucks from like 60. And they do make something amazing.
 

Bonte

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2002
1,051
373
Bruges, Belgium
Quite simple. When a company owns a patent and another company illegally infringes on that patent, there is a price to pay. Would you prefer a world in which there are no legal ramifications for breaking a law?

Apple has quite a sleazy history in this department.
Seems to be about technicalities, these are normally FRAND patents

--
Apple argues it is entitled to a new trial because the jury trial was held without evidence regarding Optis’s obligation to license the patents on FRAND terms. (Dkt. No. 549 at 9.) The jury’s verdict in this case, Apple argues, is not compliant with FRAND terms and stands in violation of the FRAND limitations on reasonably royalty awards for standard essential patents.
 

Xtir

macrumors regular
Jul 18, 2021
134
180
I still don't understand how a company with no actual operations and don't sell anything can be found to be damaged... what a mad world.
"In a statement, Apple said: "Optis makes no products and its sole business is to sue companies using patents they accumulate. We will continue to defend against their attempts to extract unreasonable payments for patents they acquire."

Apple patents lots of stuff they never going to use, just fore the purpose no one else can. Because it (the patent) represents value and it will defend it with all measures possible, sometimes just to keep competition out.

I still don't understand how a company knowingly can use patents it does not own and determining what a reasonable price for usage (of these patents) is.

Suppose it is reasonable to take (steal) something and tell the judge you did it because the price wasn't right?
 
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