Apple Infringes Three Patents With the IPhone, Jury Says
Apple Inc. (AAPL) lost an infringement case brought by patent-licensing firm MobileMedia Ideas LLC when a federal jury decided the maker of the iPhone misappropriated protected technology for the handheld devices.
Jurors in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated about four hours after a weeklong trial before also concluding today that the three patents aren’t invalid.
“We’re very pleased,” MobileMedia Chief Executive Officer Larry Horn said in a courtroom interview after the trial. “We think it’s justified.”
The Apple iPhone is the No. 1 smartphone in the U.S., outselling all handsets using Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software combined in the 12 weeks through Oct. 28, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The device, once offered exclusively by AT&T Inc. in the U.S., is offered by Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and beginning in 2013, T-Mobile USA Inc.
U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson hasn’t yet scheduled a trial on damages, which Horn said could be “substantial.”
Apple declined to comment on the verdict, spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in an e-mail.
MobileMedia, based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, sued Cupertino, California-based Apple in 2010 contending it infringed 14 patents for electronics. Robinson took the case to trial after the number of patents was whittled to three.
In its complaint, MobileMedia contended it would suffer “irreparable injury” if Apple was allowed to use the patented inventions in its iPhone without paying royalties.
“We’re not in the litigation business” and just want to license the patents, Horn said. The patents in the suit were originally owned by Sony Corp. and Nokia Oyj, according to court filings.
Horn said one patent is for the camera phone and others cover call handling and call rejection. He said 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.
“This was a very difficult case,” Steve Bauer, a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, said in an e-mailed statement. “It required us to take the jury back to 1994-1998, when these technologies were first invented.”
Apple fell $9.31, or 1.7 percent, to $529.69 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.
The case is MobileMedia Ideas LLC v. Apple Inc., 10-cv-258, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). To see the patents, click: 6,070,068; 6,253,075; and 6,427,078.
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