Apple ordered to pay WiLAN $145M for infringing two patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2018
After a decade of unsuccessful lawsuits against Apple, non-practicing entity WiLAN was handed a rare win on Wednesday when a federal jury ordered the tech giant to pay $141.1 million for infringement of two owned properties.

iPhone 6


According to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the jury returned the $141.1 million verdict in favor of WiLAN after deliberating for an hour and a half. Evidence from both sides were presented to jurors over the course of seven days.

Apple was found in infringement of two patents covering wireless communications technology, according to a statement WiLAN provided to Reuters. Both patents, one for a "Method and Apparatus for Bandwidth Request/Grant Protocols in a Wireless Communication System" and another for "Adaptive Call Admission Control for Use in a Wireless Communication System," targeted Apple's iPhone.

The trial dates back to 2014, when WiLAN put Apple on notice for infringing on six patents with its iPhone and iPad products. The intellectual property included in WiLAN's accusation belonged to the same patent family as a separate patent at issue in a Florida case pending at the time, Apple argued in its bid for a finding of non-infringement.

According to WiLAN's complaint, however, the patents-in-suit in the California case, including one relating to VoLTE technology, were distinct from those leveraged in prior litigation. The California jury agreed.

Apple has tangled with WiLAN before. The Canadian patent firm first sued Apple in 2007 over the tech giant's use of Wi-Fi technology in a variety of commercial products. Another complaint lodged in 2010 claimed Apple was in infringement of patented Bluetooth technology.

More recently, a jury in 2013 found in favor of Apple in a suit involving Alcatel-Lucent, Dell, Hewlett Packard, HTC and other major tech corporations. Asserting two wireless technology patents against the companies, WiLAN sought $248 million in damages and was able to secure license and settlement agreements from all parties except Apple, which was ultimately able to invalidate claims from one patent-in-suit.

WiLAN was founded in 1992 as a company rooted in developing and commercializing wireless technology. In 2006, after "realizing the value that its intellectual property brought to industry," the firm transformed into a patent holdings entity and holds a large number of properties which are used in litigation against big-name corporations.

Following today's decision, Presiding Judge Dana M. Sabraw directed both parties to mediation prior to submitting post-trial motions. A joint status report is due on Aug. 10.

WiLAN Lawsuit by Mikey Campbell on Scribd

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,262member
    Oh, software patents. The fun will never end.

    (some of you may know i’m a software dev in the camp that doesn’t feel idea patents are appropriate for software, that copyright is the proper mechanism to protect our works. this prevents theft but doesn’t punish other implementations. see Amazon’s infamous “shopping cart” patent nonsense)
    edited August 2018 macxpressmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,551member
    So if they’ve sued Apple several times over the last 10 years and this is the first time they’ve won then they have a pretty poor return on their investment. 

    I’m torn on the whole patent issue. I think developers should definitely have protection for their intillectual investment, but companies that exist solely for the purpose of suing other companies are nothing but useless parasites that add nothing to society. If invented it yourself or are actually using the patent fine, but if your only use is to sue others then you can find another job that’s of more use - like cleaning latrines. 
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,023member
    I can’t comment on the IP...

    But does anyone else think patent law going in front of a jury is stupid?

    I’m a fairly technical person, and I’m in no way qualified to sit on a jury arguing IP law or determing damages.

    99% of lawyers probably aren’t qualified to sit on that jury...
    prismaticswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 6
    I can’t comment on the IP...

    [...]

    99% of lawyers probably aren’t qualified to sit on that jury...
    I think there should be special court with special people who know about software design and patents considering software implementation, since most of cases revolve about software and associated patents anyways, as it seems to me.
    edited August 2018 seanismorriswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,899member
    I can’t comment on the IP...

    [...]

    99% of lawyers probably aren’t qualified to sit on that jury...
    I think there should be special court with special people who know about software design and patents considering software implementation, since most of cases revolve about software and associated patents anyways, as it seems to me.
    Big pharma and med is always involved in patent suits too. If fact they're the leading filers. We just don't know it because we follow tech sites. 

    As far as I know the companies filing these IP suits can request a bench trial and avoid a jury altogether, and there's several very tech knowledgeable judges who would be far more likely to understand the claims. So why are jury trials so heavily favored, upwards of 80% of them? Well of course for that exact reason. Juries are more likely NOT to understand the finer points and err on the side of the plaintiffs and award bigger judgments. 
    jony0
  • Reply 6 of 6
    To MplsP WILAN did develop and owns the intellectual property in question. as the article says "WiLAN was founded in 1992 as a company rooted in developing and commercializing wireless technology. In 2006, after "realizing the value that its intellectual property brought to industry," the firm transformed into a patent holdings entity."
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