Apple ordered to pay $300 million in LTE patent retrial
In an ongoing dispute with a company called Optis that owns patents on the LTE cellular standard, Apple has been ordered to pay $300 million in royalties after a retrial in the patent dispute over wireless technology used in iPhones and other products. Meanwhile, Apple accused Optis of being a patent troll—a company that exists solely to sue others for using purchased patents.
On one hand, $300 million is pocket change for Apple. The company recently announced that it made $21.7 billion in profits in the latest quarter. So, $300 million is just over one day's profits. On the other hand, suing companies for payouts could become a regular affair for firms like Optis. In 2020, it scored $506 million in damages from Apple.
Though Optis was awarded $506mn, Apple persuaded the judge into ordering a damages-only retrial of the 2020 case claiming the jurors hadn't considered whether the demand was fair for standards-based patents. The five Optis-owned patents that Apple has been accused of infringing once belonged to Samsung, Panasonic, and LG. Apple claims Optis doesn't do anything other than suing companies like Tesla, Huawei, and ZTE.
Bloomberg reported that the Texas trial is part of an attempt by Optis to collect around $7 billion from the Cupertino company. With an ongoing trial in the UK, Optis hopes to set a global royalty rate for the use of patents. In July, Apple lawyers threatened that Apple would withdraw from British markets if it is forced to pay a "commercially unacceptable" amount.
In a statement, Apple stated, "Optis makes no products and its sole business is to sue companies using patents they accumulate". "We will continue to defend against their attempts to extract unreasonable payments for patents they acquire," Apple added. From trials so far, Apple has reportedly been ordered to pay Optis a total of little less than a third of a billion dollars.