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Apple Told to Pay $8 Million in Patent Trial Over IPod Playlists

Apple Inc. was told to pay closely held Personal Audio LLC $8 million after a federal jury in Texas found that the maker of iPod music players infringed patents for downloadable playlists.

Personal Audio, a patent licensing company with an office in Beaumont, Texas, sued Apple in 2009 for $84 million in damages, claiming infringement of two patents. The jury today found that the patents were infringed, and upheld their validity, according to Personal Audio’s lawyer, Ron Schutz of Robins Kaplan in Minneapolis.

The inventions cover an audio player that can receive navigable playlists and can skip forward or backward through the downloaded list. Apple contended that it wasn’t using the inventions, and that the patents were invalid.

The iPod generated $8.3 billion in sales last year for Cupertino, California-based Apple, about 13 percent of its total revenue.

The case is Personal Audio LLC v. Apple Inc., 09cv111, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Lufkin).

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