Apple ends 15 years of LTE patent disputes with WiLAN

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2022
Apple and WiLAN have signed a patent licensing agreement which concludes a series of disputes over iPhone wireless technologies, going back to 2007.




From the launch of the original iPhone, Apple and non-practicing entity WiLAN have been engaged in multiple suits and countersuits regarding patent infringement. Most recently, a 2020 ruling saw Apple being ordered to pay $109 million to the patent aggregator.

According to Reuters, however, the two firms have now signed a patent licensing agreement which appears to settle all disputes.

WiLAN is a subsidiary of Quarterhill Inc, and itself has a subsidiary named Polaris Innovations. Quarterhill says that the new agreement includes "the settlement and dismissal of all litigation pending between WiLAN and Polaris and Apple in the United States, Canada and Germany."

The complex history of WiLAN and Apple disputes goes back to the 2007 launch of the iPhone. Then WiLAN included Apple in its accusations of multiple companies infringing on its Wi-Fi patents.

At times, Apple has won certain of the lawsuits, such as in 2013 when a two-year trial ended with a jury deciding against WiLAN.

In 2018, WiLAN won a case that meant Apple was initially ordered to pay $145 million for patent infringement. However, in 2019, Apple successfully petitioned for the ruling to be reduced to just $10 million.

None of the parties have commented further. Details of the agreement are being kept confidential.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    "Apple and non-practicing entity WiLAN have been engaged in multiple suits..."

    So another patent troll wins. Will patent law ever be reformed?
  • Reply 2 of 8
    payecopayeco Posts: 581member
    How much time can this patent have left before it expires if this dispute is going on 15 years old?
  • Reply 3 of 8
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,866member
    lkrupp said:
    "Apple and non-practicing entity WiLAN have been engaged in multiple suits..."

    So another patent troll wins. Will patent law ever be reformed?
    Not as long as the lawyers who profit from all of this are the ones who make the laws. 
    bala1234
  • Reply 4 of 8
    1348513485 Posts: 361member
    For the last time:

    If an inventor invents something and patents it, he/she has a limited monopoly on its commercialization. If I buy it from the inventor, I take on the same limited monopoly rights. If I can commercialize it right away, that's my right. If it takes me 19.9 years, or if I fail to commercialize it. it's still my property until the patent expires. It's still never YOURS to use until it's in the public domain.

    A patent is a piece of property like a house or car. I can't take it just because you've had it for a while or I just want it a lot. 

    You can challenge the legitimacy of the patent or some or all of its claims. This is how patents works around the world, it's an agreed upon system. 

    As for lawyers, Apple's and WILANs lawyers get paid whether they win or lose. There is no secret cabal of IP attorneys.
    edited March 2022 gatorguyscstrrfchadbagtommikelebeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 8
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,015member
    The NPE label is meant to influence opinion and is actually irrelevant.  It is a prejudicial label and is a red herring in any discussion.  

    The owner of the patent can choose to do whatever they want with their property and has been mentioned, the protected technology is not open to anyone to use — the status of the owner is irrelevant.  


    tommikelebeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 8
    13485 said:
    For the last time:

    If an inventor invents something and patents it, he/she has a limited monopoly on its commercialization. If I buy it from the inventor, I take on the same limited monopoly rights. If I can commercialize it right away, that's my right. If it takes me 19.9 years, or if I fail to commercialize it. it's still my property until the patent expires. It's still never YOURS to use until it's in the public domain.

    A patent is a piece of property like a house or car. I can't take it just because you've had it for a while or I just want it a lot. 

    You can challenge the legitimacy of the patent or some or all of its claims. This is how patents works around the world, it's an agreed upon system. 

    As for lawyers, Apple's and WILANs lawyers get paid whether they win or lose. There is no secret cabal of IP attorneys.
    There’s a number of problems with this analysis, the most obvious of which is that patent rights and property rights are not remotely the same. Patents are not property (nor is a car the same kind of property that land or house is), and are more akin to a time-limited exclusive license. In theory, parents revert to the public domain — Lawrence Lessing has a large body of writing surrounding this issue. I’m sure most of you are vaguely familiar with his work.

    Aside from that, non-practicing entities are very much a perversion of the original intent of patent law in the U.S. The history is easy to look up. It was never intended to enable perpetual rent-seeking.

    As for the secret cable stuff, well … it’s a bit more complex than you portray it. And the folks that I know who work in is area of law (or have) absolutely believe that the system has been intentionally warped by powerful interests in both the legal field and politics, spurred on by companies that enable them.

    I’m sure there’s more, but I’m out of time, and your slightly ass-chapped tone makes me think trying to convince you isn’t worth that time. (I do get your frustration with knee-jerk reactions though, if I’m interpreting that right.)


    muthuk_vanalingamstourque
  • Reply 7 of 8
    lkrupp said:
    "Apple and non-practicing entity WiLAN have been engaged in multiple suits..."

    So another patent troll wins. Will patent law ever be reformed?
    So if I own an asset and I happen to keep it in my closet 100% of the time because that's what I as the owner choose to do with it,  you have the right, by your own choice, to use it without my permission and without paying me to borrow it? That is exactly what you are saying. Hypocrite.

    It has  been established in a court of law that WiLan owns the patent. Apple took it and used it without permission or a payment agreement. Now they have to pay. Tell me why Apple should not pay the rightful owner for using their property?

    How do you rationalize Apple shouldn't have to pay or that they should be able by the force of their size and wealth, to take someone else's property and convert to their own use.
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 8 of 8
    1348513485 Posts: 361member
    13485 said:
    For the last time:

    If an inventor invents something and patents it, he/she has a limited monopoly on its commercialization. If I buy it from the inventor, I take on the same limited monopoly rights. If I can commercialize it right away, that's my right. If it takes me 19.9 years, or if I fail to commercialize it. it's still my property until the patent expires. It's still never YOURS to use until it's in the public domain.

    A patent is a piece of property like a house or car. I can't take it just because you've had it for a while or I just want it a lot. 

    You can challenge the legitimacy of the patent or some or all of its claims. This is how patents works around the world, it's an agreed upon system. 

    As for lawyers, Apple's and WILANs lawyers get paid whether they win or lose. There is no secret cabal of IP attorneys.
    There’s a number of problems with this analysis, the most obvious of which is that patent rights and property rights are not remotely the same. Patents are not property (nor is a car the same kind of property that land or house is), and are more akin to a time-limited exclusive license. In theory, parents revert to the public domain — Lawrence Lessing has a large body of writing surrounding this issue. I’m sure most of you are vaguely familiar with his work.

    Aside from that, non-practicing entities are very much a perversion of the original intent of patent law in the U.S. The history is easy to look up. It was never intended to enable perpetual rent-seeking.

    As for the secret cable stuff, well … it’s a bit more complex than you portray it. And the folks that I know who work in is area of law (or have) absolutely believe that the system has been intentionally warped by powerful interests in both the legal field and politics, spurred on by companies that enable them.

    I’m sure there’s more, but I’m out of time, and your slightly ass-chapped tone makes me think trying to convince you isn’t worth that time. (I do get your frustration with knee-jerk reactions though, if I’m interpreting that right.)


    First, it's clear that I wrote this in the most general terms for an audience that doesn't seem to grasp patents at all. It was not an IP thesis.

    That said:
     
    "Patents. A patent is a property right for an investor that's typically granted by a government agency, such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent allows the inventor exclusive rights to the invention, which could be a design, process, an improvement, or physical invention such as a machine." (Investopedia)

    There is no "perpetual rent seeking" If you cared to read, I mention "limited monopoly"--that's time delimited as in my example.

    Yes, patents revert to the public domain, just as I said: "
    It's still never YOURS to use until it's in the public domain."

    There has never been a requirement that the inventor or patent holder must commercialize his/her patent due to some as yet unknown statute. 
    Because, to be clear, from the beginning, a patent holder, whether the original inventor or an entity who purchased (or licensed) the invention, has always had the absolute right to seek damages from any infringement of the patent. 

    Beyond all that, what is the logic that requires you to use your invention within a certain timeframe monopoly or lose it? Oh, that's right--it's built right into the granting of the patent---A LIMITED MONOPOLY. So no matter what, everyone gets a shot at your invention when the clock runs out. 

    I'm on a bunch of patents, I've dealt with all kinds of IP attorneys, patent examiners and office actions in the US and abroad. I'm still waiting to run into the evidence of the all powerful interests that are secretly the force behind the PTO rules. The USPTO systems is very democratic, everyone can play.

    I'd go easy on the ad hominems if I were you. The mods don't look kindly on that. And they impress me not at all.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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