Apple and LG accused of infringing Alcatel-Lucent patents in U.S. trial

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A California court trial involving patent infringement allegations against co-defendants Apple and LG Electronics began on Tuesday, with Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust asserting the two electronics makers violated video compression technology used in a number of devices.

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The jury trial, being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern Distrcit of California, is directly related to a 2010 complaint filed by the Paris-based technology company's Multimedia Patent Trust in which both Apple and LG were accused of copying efficient data transmission tech pertaining to videos, reports Bloomberg.

"Apple and LG have chosen not to license these patents while 33 other companies have paid over $190 million for these licenses," said one of the patent trust's attorneys, Frederick Lorig. Counsel went on to explain that he failed to successfully negotiate a deal with Apple despite having already set licensing terms with Motorola worth some $18 million. "Apple sells four times the number of infringing products that Motorola does," he said.

According to the suit, Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod and MacBook lines, as well as LG's Chocolate Touch VX8575, Bliss UX700, Touch AX8575, Lotus Elite LX610, Mystique UN610 and Samba LG8575, infringe on the trust's patents.

"The motion pictures you see on your screens are made possible by these patents," Lorig said. "This technology lets you download in half the time and store twice as much content."

Representatives for Apple and LG countered during their opening statements, saying that MPT had already been paid for the technology in the for of an "pay-as-you-go" pool of funds. The attorneys said the trust is attempting to extend its patent claims to cover new technology.

"LG and Apple are not going to pay rent for technology they do not use," said Apple attorney Juanita Brooks. "Why are we here in this trial? They are trying to get $170 million from Apple. I can think of 170 million reasons they are asking us to pay more than all of the other licensees combined."

LG's counsel, Michael McKeon, added, "What we have here is MPT trying to double dip. It is suing over technology it does not own."

Apple is accused of infringing upon three Alcatel-Lucent patents compared to LG's two, with MPT asking for a "reasonable royalty" based on fees it would have been paid prior to the alleged infringement.

MPT is looking for undisclosed damages with the possibility of trebling, or tripling, the judgment amount if Apple and LG are found to have infringed willfully, as well as court fees.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow at 9 a.m. and is expected to conclude within the next two weeks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15


    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "The motion pictures you see on your screens are made possible by these patents," Lorig said. "This technology lets you download in half the time and store twice as much content."


     


    Regardless of the validity of this statement or these claims, Apple immediately gives these guys the finger and dumps all video content except HEVC. 




    Boom. Welcome to the future. Thanks, lawsuits!

  • Reply 2 of 15
    Someone had a flow chart of who is suing who. I need to see a new version. Is there any tech company who is not being sued or suing someone. The majority of companies probably fall into the sued and suing.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

    Apple immediately gives these guys the finger and dumps all video content except HEVC. 




     



    Great. We already have to encode in four codecs for our web videos, why not add a few more?  image They really need to consolidate a joint, joint, joint committee on joint committees. I propose JJJJJJJJMPEG

  • Reply 4 of 15


    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    We already have to encode in four codecs for our web videos…


     


    The idea is to drop that. What four codecs? I can think of FLV, MP4… what else? Really the web should only need MP4 and HEVC, at least until the latter has playback capability in both major desktop and mobile OS'.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    We already have to encode in four codecs for our web videos…


     


    The idea is to drop that. What four codecs? I can think of FLV, MP4… what else? Really the web should only need MP4 and HEVC, at least until the latter has playback capability in both major desktop and mobile OS'.



    M4V, OGV, WebM, FLV

  • Reply 6 of 15


    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    M4V, OGV, WebM, FLV


     


    The second one… why? For Linux users that can't be bothered to install something that can view MP4s? 


     


    And I'm of the belief that you shouldn't give a second glance to Google's throat-stuffing of WebM. They want to pretend to be another Microsoft, they can die a slow death like their mentor. But that's me. image

  • Reply 7 of 15
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    M4V, OGV, WebM, FLV


     


    The second one… why? For Linux users that can't be bothered to install something that can view MP4s? 


     


    And I'm of the belief that you shouldn't give a second glance to Google's throat-stuffing of WebM. They want to pretend to be another Microsoft, they can die a slow death like their mentor. But that's me. image



    I don't judge, I'm but a simple programmer.

  • Reply 8 of 15
    No offense, but there will never be just a few codecs whether it be video or audio or object file vector primitives like SVG, EPS, AI, etc.

    All are a moving target. The Web baseline codecs is a different story.

    Disclaimer: I hold stock in Alcatel-Lucent and Apple. Either way works out for me.
  • Reply 9 of 15


    "Counsel went on to explain that he failed to successfully negotiate a deal with Apple despite having already set licensing terms with Motorola…"


     


    Does Motorola's infringement imply that Android is involved? If so, is Samsung one of the other 32 paying companies? If so, how much is Samsung paying? How about Google? Hmm…the law firm representing Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust is QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP. Aren't they the same guys representing Samsung and Google? Curiouser and curiouser!

  • Reply 10 of 15


    "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post


    "Counsel went on to explain that he failed to successfully negotiate a deal with Apple despite having already set licensing terms with Motorola…"


     


    Does Motorola's infringement imply that Android is involved? If so, is Samsung one of the other 32 paying companies? If so, how much is Samsung paying? How about Google? Hmm…the law firm representing Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust is QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP. Aren't they the same guys representing Samsung and Google? Curiouser and curiouser!


  • Reply 11 of 15
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member
    I thought licenses were paid for on the encoding end, not the decoding end.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Counsel went on to explain that he failed to successfully negotiate a deal with Apple despite having already set licensing terms with Motorola worth some $18 million. "Apple sells four times the number of infringing products that Motorola does," he said.


     


    Waaa - Moto let me steal their ice cream but Apple won't, Moommmmmyyyyy!


     


    I guess I don't understand legal precedent when the lawyer argues that company A agreed to some set of undisclosed terms and conditions so company B should be forced to comply with some other set of undisclosed terms and conditions. 


     


    ALso I am not sure how in some of these case the plaintiff knows that the defendant is in fact infringing - did they have some sort of agreement already in place to use the tech? is the tech available for anyone to download and incorporate into their product? or (as I suspect in some cases) is the alleged infringement based on speculation that since the defendant's product looks so much like the plaintiff's that it must therefore be infringing. 


     


    If design a solution that on the surface appears to be the same as your solution but under the covers is utterly different - and especially if I had no prior knowledge of your product and rather than trying to copy or reverse engineer your solution - we just both happened to be working on the same problem at the same time - then first to patent may still be the delineating legal mark - but if the work is truly unique despite the results appearing to be similar or the same there should be some limits on damages. 


     


    On the other hand - how much $ do all these law suits pump into the economy by keeping law firms employed?

  • Reply 13 of 15
    They filed it in California? Not East Texas? I thought all of these lawsuits were filed in East Texas where the judges and juries are sooo friendly to patent lawsuits.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    icoco3 wrote: »
    I thought licenses were paid for on the encoding end, not the decoding end.

    There are usually license fees associated with hardware accelerated decoding chips/graphic processors in iOS devices and Macs.

    If I recall, when Apple first started using MPEG 4 (h.264 video and m4a and m4p in iTunes) they had to pay a $1 license fee for each device or a capped $6 million. The was when the iTunes Store started selling music and QuickTime started playing back h.264. I think the deal was announced in 2003.

    Another interesting thing is that Moto is NOT suing Apple over the same h.264 videos patents that Moto is suing MS over.

    This is because QuickTime and iOS do not support the interlaced h.264 video, Moto's infringed patent.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    Apple have always used Quicktime, which they developed years before anyone else thought of doing these things, so much so that Intel and Microsoft stole Apple's code from the Canyon software company, in order to get the whole "multimedia" ball rolling.


     


    When push comes to shove Apple has some pretty strong legs to stand on.


     


    The presence of Quinn Emmanuel is interesting, given that they are pretty much on retainer to Google and show up in almost every Android based court case, HTC being compelled to provide confidential contract information to Samsung being one of the only notable exceptions.

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