Apple ordered to pay $530m for iTunes patent

Texas jury found iPhone maker guilty of "willfully" infringing Smartflash's patents

Tags: Apple IncorporatedPatentUSA
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Apple ordered to pay $530m for iTunes patent Apple: "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating". (Getty Images)
By  Helen Gaskell Published  February 26, 2015

Apple has been ordered to pay a fine of $533m after a federal jury in Texas found its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by a patent licensing company called Smartflash.

Smartflash, which had been asking for $852m in damages but said it was "happy" with the verdict, owns and licenses tech-related patents but does not make products itself.

Apple said it intended to appeal and called for patent reform: "Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented," said Apple's Kristin Huguet.

"We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating, and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."

The jury deliberated for eight hours and determined that Apple had not only used Smartflash's patents without permission, but did so "willfully".

Smartflash sued Apple in May 2013, alleging its iTunes software infringed its patents related to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games. The jury found in Smartflash's favour in all three of the patents concerned.

"Smartflash is very happy with the jury's verdict, which recognises Apple's longstanding wilful infringement," said Brad Caldwell, a lawyer for Smartflash.

According to online reports, Smartflash has also filed patent infringement lawsuits against Samsung, HTC and Google and Amazon.

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