Apple attorneys threaten UK market exit if court orders 'unacceptable' patent fees

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's lawyers have warned the iPhone maker could exit the UK if a court orders it to pay "commercially unacceptable" fees to patent company Optis Cellular over alleged infringement of 3G and 4G patents.




Apple is currently involved in a lawsuit with Optis in the United Kingdom, with Apple refusing to pay the firm license fees for patents Optis claims it used in the iPhone and other technologies. In June, a High Court judge ruled that Apple had infringed two of the patents, and therefore Apple should pay fees.

The value of the fees has yet to be determined, but This Is Money writes it could be a legal fight worth up to 5 billion pounds ($7 billion) to Apple.

In 2020, the UK Supreme Court ruled a UK court can set the rate for patent payments worldwide, despite the court only being able to consider the infringement of UK patents. A trial in 2022 will determine how much Apple will have to pay.

As for how much it could be, Mr Justice Meade said during a hearing in January that Apple "might be disappointed" by the set rate. Meade offered it was unlikely that Apple would perform a drastic action, such as exiting the UK market, if the fees are too high, with "no evidence it is even remotely possible" that Apple would consider it.

Marie Demetriou, Apple's lawyer, argued back "I'm not sure that is right. Apple's position is it should indeed be able to reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market. There may be terms that are set by the court which are just commercially unacceptable."

A court case later in July will determine whether Apple will have to make a legally binding pledge to abide by judge-set payout rates in the July 2022 trial. If it refuses, Apple has the possibility of being banned from selling iPhones in the country.

This is not the only lawsuit involving Optis that Apple is contending with. In August 2020, a Texas federal jury ruled Apple willfully infringed on 4G LTE patents owned by PanOptis and related companies, including Optis, and that it had to pay $506.2 million.

In April 2021, a federal judge allowed a retrial to take place, due to there being "serious doubt" about the verdict.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,396member
    Apple leaving the UK market... who are they trying to fool...
    ionicleseanjelijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 108
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,828member
    Leaving the UK market is what would be commercially unacceptable.

    Making threats of this kind does Apple no favours, it simply makes them sound as if they think can pull strings, sway decisions and set 'punishments'. Could turn into a PR nightmare if it eventually gets spun negatively.

    Extra territorial reach is in itself a double edged sword. The US has been putting 'sanctions' on countries and companies and expecting sovereign nations to fall into line on enforcing them. 

    Sometimes things can swing in the other direction. If they lose the fight, the best thing they can do is take it to the last appeal and then pay up if they lose. 


    edited July 11 Beatskillroyelijahgmuthuk_vanalingamionicleseanjFileMakerFellerdysamoriachemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 108
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,698member
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?
    pscooter63genovelledewmekillroyNoFliesOnMeqwerty52JanNLrcfaRayz2016GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 108
    If the UK market becomes too toxic then leaving it may not be a bad thing. Apple is a for profit business and if the market condition isn’t profitable whats the point of been on it? Besides is not like the UK market is as big as the EU market.
    edited July 11 pscooter63genovelleqwerty52rcfaapplguybshankkillroywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 108
    danoxdanox Posts: 561member
    mcdave said:
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?
    At some point a stand needs to be made, the UK being a small country, is just the place….
    mcdavercfaGeorgeBMacmwhitebshankwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 108
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 265member
    Let’s not get carried away folks. This was a single lawyer, and hardly one who reports directly to Apple’s SVP for Legal Counsel, responding to a quip from a judge that it’s unlikely Apple will leave the UK market if forced to pay this royalty. Of course their lawyer is going to argue the opposite. 

    This wasn’t some big showdown nor was it a credible threat to leave any markets. 
    elijahgthtJWSCseanjFileMakerFellerdysamoriawatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 108
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,441member
    mcdave said:
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?

    I don’t know. Everyone on forums seem to agree that Apple should leave every country that attacks them. Seems like a good plan!
    /s

    The cost of not leaving? Not sure what you mean but leaving means it leaves the market open for knockoffs and patent thieves like Huawei and Samsung to take over the market Apple spend decades and billions of dollars inventing.
    killroyelijahgseanj
  • Reply 8 of 108
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,227member
    Beats said:
    mcdave said:
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?

    I don’t know. Everyone on forums seem to agree that Apple should leave every country that attacks them. Seems like a good plan!
    /s

    The cost of not leaving? Not sure what you mean but leaving means it leaves the market open for knockoffs and patent thieves like Huawei and Samsung to take over the market Apple spend decades and billions of dollars inventing.
    Paying 7 Billion on a UK only issued patent opens the flood gates for sure. And they should consider leaving. Many of these trolls go after the other large fish once they get a bite, so Apple leaving will create a new direction that others will likely follow. So, when they come for Samsung, they will pull their phones too. 

    They public will then come for those allowing them to be locked out of desired markets. 
    killroyDogpersonbshankspock1234am8449watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 108
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,032member
    If Apple invests that 7 billion dollars elsewhere that would bring much more profits than selling iPhones in the good old UK.
    edited July 11 dewmeradarthekatkillroyraybodee_deejony0
  • Reply 10 of 108
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,252member
    If the judgement is against them then that will set precedent for patent suit elsewhere so leaving the UK, should it ever happen (I doubt it), may not help them that much anyway.  

    Not really sure what the lawyer was trying to achieve with this, it may well backfire if the judge takes it as an arrogant threat.
    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 108
    seanjseanj Posts: 240member
    mcdave said:
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?
    Presumably you think they should leave the Texas market too? Absolutely stupid comment. As if legal courts pay attention to childish threats like this.

    The UK is way too profitable for Apple to even consider doing this.
    elijahg
  • Reply 12 of 108
    seanjseanj Posts: 240member
    danox said:
    mcdave said:
    The may have to leave the UK market to set an example and cool the current wave of attacks. What would be the cost of not leaving?
    At some point a stand needs to be made, the UK being a small country, is just the place….
    Clearly clueless about finance if you think the U.K. is small, it’s a G7 member.
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingamionicleFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 108
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,355moderator
    Consumers will pay the toll in raised prices.  Let the UK shoot themselves in the foot.  
    aderutterkillroyqwerty52GeorgeBMacStrangeDaysfotoformatbshankwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 108
    They will be leaving the State of Texas, next.
    GeorgeBMacseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 108
    China commits genocide and breaks international agreements left and right and Apple won’t even move production like Samsung did.

    Apple won’t do Jack.
    elijahgseanjspock1234
  • Reply 16 of 108
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 461member
    Yep, us UK customers will simply pay a higher price for an iPhone. 
    rayboqwerty52StrangeDaysapplguybshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 108
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 461member
    Even if it means importing from the USA or EU.
    GeorgeBMacStrangeDaysbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 108
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,252member
    Consumers will pay the toll in raised prices.  Let the UK shoot themselves in the foot.  
    aderutter said:
    Yep, us UK customers will simply pay a higher price for an iPhone. 
    Did you miss the part where this judgement is for a global patent rate?
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingamseanjFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 108
    killroykillroy Posts: 129member
    If the UK market becomes too toxic then leaving it may not be a bad thing. Apple is a for profit business and if the market condition isn’t profitable whats the point of been on it? Besides is not like the UK market is as big as the EU market.

    The EU market is also getting toxic.
    edited July 11 ioniclewatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 108
    killroykillroy Posts: 129member
    Going to their web site, http://panoptis.com/portfolios/, ; you would you would think that no company can make any cell phone without their say so.

    spock1234watto_cobra
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