Apple Ordered To Pay $533 Million In iTunes Patent Infringement Trial
[UPDATE 2] With billions in the bank, a court ordered payout of $533 million is a very survivable hit for Apple. But the underlying question remains. Did Apple really create all of the tech upon which Job's built his empire or are patent trolls just trying to extract ransom?
A federal jury in Texas has ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million after finding that iTunes had infringed on three software patents owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash, LLC. Smartflash had asked for $852 million in damages.
Deliberating for just eight hours, the jury found that Apple had used Smartflash patents both willfully and without permission. Apple called the decision another example of how the current patent system needs of reform and vowed to appeal.
"Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented," an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement to Bloomberg. "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."
But Smartflash argued that Patrick Racz, the company's founder, had shown the technology ten years ago to Augustin Farrugia, who is now Apple's Director of Security.