Apple to Pay $532.9 Million For Patent Infringement
Electronics giant, Apple has found itself on the losing end today after a court found that its iTunes software infringed the patent of a Texas-based company. Apple has been asked by the court to pay Smartflash LLC a massive sum of $532.9 million.
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that Apple’s iTunes software violated three patents owned by Smartflash. The actual compensation demanded by Smartflash was $852 million. It claimed that it was entitled to the percentage of sales of all the devices such as Macs, iPad and iPhones that were used to access iTunes.
A visibly bitter Apple team said that it did not respect Smartflash’s inventions, as the patents were invalid and weren’t infringed. It had claimed that the patents were at most worth $4.5 million adding that Smartflash demands were excessive and unsupportable.
Smartflash is not a device maker; it licenses the patents issued to it between 2008 and 2012. It has also sued Samsung, Google and Amazon for patent infringement. The jury found that Apple didn’t just infringe the patents; it did so willfully.
iTunes is one of the central softwares in the Apple ecosystem. It is not just a music player but is also a major e-commerce player as users can download content through it.
The case might be important in terms of patent reforms. The American system of patents allows developers and creators to gain patents on slightest dissimilarities with other products. This leads to a vast numbers of patent hoarders, whose sole business model is based on the licensing income.