Apple ordered to pay PanOptis $506.2M for infringing LTE patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
A Texas federal jury on Tuesday ruled that Apple must pay $506.2 million for willfully infringing on a handful of 4G LTE patents owned by PanOptis and related companies.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The complaint, first lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2019, accused Apple of infringing on seven patents covering various 4G LTE abilities. The lawsuit named iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch as infringing devices.

In Tuesday's decision, the jury decided that Apple failed to prove that any of PanOptis' patent claims were invalid. According to Law360, it also said that Apple willfully infringed on the patents. Notably, the in-person patent jury trial was the country's first since coronavirus lockdowns began.

The $506 million is a royalty of past sales of infringing devices, with the jury finding five of the seven patents in suit were violated.

PanOptis and its related companies, including Optis Wireless Technology and Unwired Planet, are non-practicing entities. In their complaint, the companies argued that they had offered Apple a license for using the LTE-related patents, but added that negotiations fell through.

"Lawsuits like this by companies who accumulate patents simply to harass the industry only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers," Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. Apple pledged to appeal the decision.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.
    spice-boy
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    headfull0winenarwhalmwhitellamapscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.

    Apple is rich. Everyone wants to sue them for any reason. Most patents are broad spectrum vague ideas. Basically landmines for big tech.

    "Frankly they should have left China years ago"

    Oh, this is what it's about.
    headfull0winenarwhalkillroyflyingdprevenantjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    This right here is why I’m a bit confused. Apple licenses the technology from these two companies and then is found guilty of infringement on technology that isn’t theirs.

    I would be very grateful if someone would be able to explain this one.  Is it because of How Apple has implemented it into their devices?
    edited August 2020 narwhalllamapscooter63jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 424member
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.
    And you know these patents well enough to know that they are valid?  Probably not.  And judging by the number of jury judgements coming out of East Texas which later get overturned, neither do the juries there.  Yes, Apple has been found guilty on appeal sometimes, so they're not always innocent, but your blanket statement is pretty off-base too.

    Your comment about Apple leaving China: put your wallet where your mouth is - boycott every manufacturer that does business in China.  They'll find you naked and starved to death in your apartment :-)  Apple goes way beyond what other companies do in at least requiring better work conditions for its workers.
    narwhallkruppkillroymuthuk_vanalingamflyingdprevenantmwhiteaderutterroundaboutnowFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 20
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,677member

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas


    'nuff said.
    sdw2001killroyflyingdpmwhitejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    This right here is why I’m a bit confused. Apple licenses the technology from these two companies and then is found guilty of infringement on technology that isn’t theirs.

    I would be very grateful if someone would be able to explain this one.  Is it because of How Apple has implemented it into their devices?
    A patent holder claiming infringement can sue upstream and downstream in the supply chain.  They can sue one entity or several at different stages of involvement with the offending tech.  It's not how Apple implemented PanOptis' patented tech, it's that they did (claimed) implement it.  A patent holder can even sue end users.  Datatern infamously sued end users in an attempt to end-around Microsoft and SAP.
    killroymuthuk_vanalingammwhite
  • Reply 8 of 20
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,018member
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.
    LOL. Written by someone who has absolutely no clue how broken the patent system is. I have a family member who worked in it for years.  The Eastern District of Texas is the most active patent court in the country. These non-practicing entities are not the same as Apple at all.  Yes, both own patents. But Apple uses them to protect the technology that goes into the actual devices and software they sell. These “companies” produce nothing.  Not only do they not produce products, but they don’t even really contribute to the economy. They are leeches.  
    edited August 2020 killroyflyingdpmwhiteaderutterpscooter63jony0gilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    killroykillroy Posts: 276member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    So why are they off the hook?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    sdw2001 said:
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.
    LOL. Written by someone who has absolutely no clue how broken the patent system is. I have a family member who worked in it for years.  The Eastern District of Texas is the most active patent court in the country. These non-practicing entities are not the same as Apple at all.  Yes, both own patents. But Apple uses them to protect the technology that goes into the actual devices and software they sell. These “companies” produce nothing.  Not only do they not produce products, but they don’t even really contribute to the economy. They are leeches.  
    I agree the patent system needs an overhaul. I don't know your family member so I can't speak to their anecdotal experience.  The Eastern District of Texas is far from the most active patent court in the country.  That dubious distinction belongs to the District of Delaware.  Delaware makes EDoT look like amateur hour.  ED of Texas is actually the 4th most active.  Apple and PanOptis aren't completely different when it comes to patent acquisitions.  Like PanOptis, Apple has acquired patents in a purely offensive play as well.  PanOptis was looking for a payday.  Apple used it's acquired patents as weapons.  Nobody's hands are clean in the patent game.  

    In this particular instance, I think PanOptis is trying to play the role of shake-down artist.  Maybe the Appeals Court will feel the same.
    trustnoone00
  • Reply 11 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    This will be appealed... obviously. 🙄
    mwhitepscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    This right here is why I’m a bit confused. Apple licenses the technology from these two companies and then is found guilty of infringement on technology that isn’t theirs.

    I would be very grateful if someone would be able to explain this one.  Is it because of How Apple has implemented it into their devices?
    A patent holder claiming infringement can sue upstream and downstream in the supply chain.  They can sue one entity or several at different stages of involvement with the offending tech.  It's not how Apple implemented PanOptis' patented tech, it's that they did (claimed) implement it.  A patent holder can even sue end users.  Datatern infamously sued end users in an attempt to end-around Microsoft and SAP.

    Thank you for the explanation.
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    killroy said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    So why are they off the hook?
    Maybe not the hook, but it’s Qualcomm responsibility to cover them and pay any damages.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Before sdw2001 said:
    LOL. Written by someone who has absolutely no clue how broken the patent system is. I have a family member who worked in it for years.  The Eastern District of Texas is the most active patent court in the country. These non-practicing entities are not the same as Apple at all.  Yes, both own patents. But Apple uses them to protect the technology that goes into the actual devices and software they sell. These “companies” produce nothing.  Not only do they not produce products, but they don’t even really contribute to the economy. They are leeches.  
    This is simply wrong. Patents are intellectual property, an asset just like stocks, bonds and real estate. You sound like Oliver Stone's anti-capitalist rant in Wall Street where he made the utterly ridiculous claim that being a stockbroker is an inherently evil profession, similar to the folks who rant against private equity, finance, fossil fuel companies (and increasingly tech companies) because they believe that the socialism fairy is going to come along and put a happiness amulet under their pillow at night or something.

    Here is the reality: if a company creates intellectual property via a patent but lacks the ability, scale or know-how to create, market and sell a product based on that patent then they should absolutely sell that patent for cash. Also, if a company that created a patent, sold a product at one time but decided that they wanted to exit the business then again sell that patent for cash. Further, were such a company to go bankrupt - as most do eventually - then yes absolutely the bankruptcy courts should sell their patents to cover their obligations to creditors. 

    Also, by your ridiculous definition, ARM HOLDINGS IS A LEECH. Further, by your logic, since Samsung most definitely isn't a leech - they do massive amounts of their own R&D and indeed Apple themselves uses and benefits from their innovations - then Apple should have no case against them right? Samsung should be able to just walk in and copy and take whatever they want. Why not? Seriously, under your theory - that patents should only be held by companies currently manufacturing and selling products directly relevant to the patents - then we would soon, immediately and quickly have no effective patent system. Is that really what you want to see? And for what? Just so Apple can pad still more to their already highest in the industry profit margins? And I bet that you are one of those fellows who felt that Samsung should have been driven out of the industry over "home buttons and rounded corners" but that Apple should be allowed to pay pennies on the dollar to Qualcomm and everyone else because "they're Apple and it is their designs and integration of parts that give patents their economic value in the first place" right? 

    Look, PanOptis has gone after others over these LTE patents too: BlackBerry, Huawei, Kyocera, and ZTE including winning an $11 million judgment against Huawei. The original patents in this area were owned by Ericsson, LG, Samsung and Panasonic. Ericsson is longer with us, so their IP was sold by the bankruptcy courts. Panasonic, they got out of this line of business years ago. Samsung is still very much involved in this - they recently released a white paper proposing 6G standards to be approved and adopted by 2030 - but neither they or LG seems to be in the licensing business. So Samsung, LG and Panasonic likely sold their IP in this area for cash. All these patents were bundled into a common portfolio to maximize their value, and the portfolio has been bouncing around a bit. 

    I see that a lot of Apple-centric sites have been claiming that these NPEs are patent trolls. What they fail to disclose is that Apple never at any point claimed that they weren't using someone else's IP. Instead, Apple made the absurd claim that the patents were invalid despite fully knowing that a recent previous lawsuit - against Huawei - said that they were! So there was no way for Apple to win this case and no basis for it. And there is no way for Apple to win this case on appeal because that would be impossible without overturning the judgment against Huawei also. Apple's only hope is for this judgment to be reduced on appeal, but there is a limit to how much. The judgment against Huawei was a lot smaller, but Huawei doesn't sell anywhere near as many phones and tablets as Apple does and doesn't generate anywhere near their profits. So a per device charge based on the Huawei rate would obviously mean less than half a billion but also far more than $11 million. Also, the NPE in question requested that Apple licensing terms on valid patents that they legitimately owned. From what I read, Apple didn't even respond to their requests to license the tech. Apple instead made the bizarre claim that the patents were invalid. Now we have two court cases which clearly establish otherwise. 

    But hey, you go ahead and continue to claim that a patent is only valid when Apple holds it. Or that patents can only be enforced against Apple's competitors ... for example I am certain that you 100% favor Oracle in their lawsuit against Google. Never mind that Oracle only got the Java patents by buying a bankrupt Oracle that actually did the IP work, meaning the same way that PanOptis got their IP. Fortunately no federal, international or foreign judge, jury or trade body is going to agree with you.
    FileMakerFellertobian
  • Reply 15 of 20
    killroy said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    So why are they off the hook?
    Maybe not the hook, but it’s Qualcomm responsibility to cover them and pay any damages.
    Not true at all. As someone said above, you can sue anywhere in the supply chain. This "responsibility" would exist only if it is in the contract terms with the suppliers. But no major supplier - which clearly Qualcomm and Intel are - would agree to such terms in a million years.

    Also, PanOptis went to Apple for licensing. Apple - bizarrely - refused to negotiate or pay licensing terms and instead claimed in court that the patents were invalid. They did this despite a previous court ruling against Huawei that these patents were invalid. Which means that Apple had no chance of winning this case, has no chance of winning outright on appeal and knows it. Their only shot at a "win" would be if the lawsuit judgment is revised below what PanOptis requested as licensing fees. 

    For all we know, PanOptis may have already worked out licensing terms with Intel and Qualcomm. Or they may have decided based on whatever prerogatives and criteria of theirs to only go after the end manufacturers and not the component suppliers. (Qualcomm, for example, owns tons of 3G and 4G patents. This fact might tend to mitigate the size of any judgment against Qualcomm, making suing them not worth PanOptis' efforts.) PanOptis has threatened lawsuits against ZTE, Blackberry and Kyocera also but decided to proceed with the lawsuits against Huawei and Apple first. Now that they are 2-0 against Huawei and Apple, the other companies that they approach will almost certainly enter licensing agreements rather than deal with attorney's fees and court costs for cases that they now know they have no chance of winning.
    edited August 2020 gatorguy
  • Reply 16 of 20
    tjwolf said:
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.
    And you know these patents well enough to know that they are valid?  Probably not.  And judging by the number of jury judgements coming out of East Texas which later get overturned, neither do the juries there.  Yes, Apple has been found guilty on appeal sometimes, so they're not always innocent, but your blanket statement is pretty off-base too.

    Your comment about Apple leaving China: put your wallet where your mouth is - boycott every manufacturer that does business in China.  They'll find you naked and starved to death in your apartment :-)  Apple goes way beyond what other companies do in at least requiring better work conditions for its workers.


    Wizard69 takes a special, vicarious pleasure in making anti-Apple posts. If it's Apple vs someone, he is always on the other side. 
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    sdw2001 said:
      They are leeches.  
    Wrong. They are Lawyers AND Leeches and Shysters and...
    Name one Lawyer that actually contributes positively to the economy? improves productivity?
    There are far too many lawyers as it is.


    tobianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    killroy said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    So why are they off the hook?
    Because Apple has more money?

    I saw an interesting tweet the other day. 

    Horace Dediu pointed out that if hadn’t paid dividends or invested in buybacks, the company would be sitting on $650bn in cash. 

    Someone else then pointed out what a big target that would make them for lawyers and governments. 

    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member
    Beats said:
    wizard69 said:
    Apple gets caught again stealing somebody else IP and then cries about it.    Sorry but PanOptis owns those patents for the same reason Apple owns patents, that is to make money.   Frankly this is just another example of why I'm really beginning to believe that Apple needs to go to hell for awhile.   I like a lot of stuff Apple makes but they are digging a big whole due to their lack of ethics.   Frankly they should have left China years ago once it was realized that China has practices as hideous as the Nazi's.  I've lost a lot of faith in Apple of late.

    Apple is rich. Everyone wants to sue them for any reason. Most patents are broad spectrum vague ideas. Basically landmines for big tech.

    "Frankly they should have left China years ago"

    Oh, this is what it's about.
    How do you think Apple "got rich"? Patents exist for a reason Apple has no problem pursuing anyone they feel has violated one of their patents, that's how it works. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Hmmm..... these LTE modems are made And supplied by Intel or Qualcom?? 
    This right here is why I’m a bit confused. Apple licenses the technology from these two companies and then is found guilty of infringement on technology that isn’t theirs.

    I would be very grateful if someone would be able to explain this one.  Is it because of How Apple has implemented it into their devices?
    The point is not whether Apple uses Qualcomm, Broadcom or Mediatek modems in their mobile devices, it's that these companies alerted Apple to their patent infringement. You seem to be arguing a point that Apple does not take. Apple's argument was that the patent was invalid, not that they are the victims of third party hardware developers that they purchase their modems from therefore they are innocent of the infringement.
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