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  • Judge Tosses Decision Ordering Apple to Pay $533M in Patent Case, Damages to be Retried


    Several months after a Texas jury ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to a product-less company that critics have dubbed a “patent troll,” a judge has tossed out that decision declaring that the instructions that were given to the jury may have improperly affected the damage assessment. A new trial to re-determine damages in the case is set to take place on September 14 according to US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who said that his jury instructions may have “skewed” jurors.

    The decision comes from a 2013 lawsuit in which Smartflash claimed that Apple’s iTunes Store, iOS App Store, Mac App Store and iAd, among other products, infringe on three of its patents related to “data storage and managing access through payment systems.” Smartflash was originally founded by inventor, Patrick Racz previously in the early 2000s. He used the company as a way to market and commoditize his patents, some of which date back to 1999. As a non-practicing entity, the firm operates mainly through patent licensing and litigation, causing everyone to call the company a “patent troll.”

    Court documents accuse Racz of meeting with executives from what is now Gemalto SA to market technology relating to the patents-in-suit. Among those who gained knowledge of the technology was Augustin Farrugia, who left Gemalto in 2002 and subsequently took a position as Apple’s senior director of Internet service security and DRM technologies.

    In this scenario, Smartflash was originally seeking $852 million in damages from Apple and after the damages were announced back in February, the intellectual property holder even went as far as filing another patent suit against Apple, seeking even more damages for alleged infringement. To try to handle everything in an effective way, Smartflash filed its lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas because of the area’s historically favorable outcomes towards intellectual property owners.

    For its part, Apple vowed to appeal the original $532.9 million decision in Smartflash’s favor and indicated that it would push back hard to overturn the decision. After the damages were announced, a spokesperson from Apple ended up accusing Smartflash of “exploiting our patent system.” The company claims that Smartflash “makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, (and) has no US presence.”

    We’ll have to see how the legal battle between the two turns out.

    Source: Reuters, Smartflash
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Judge Tosses Decision Ordering Apple to Pay $533M in Patent Case, Damages to be Retried started by Akshay Masand View original post