Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has won a $506.2 million patent damages award against Optis Wireless Technology. A federal judge tossed the patent damages award, saying that Apple was in a position to argue that Optis Wireless, which is the patent owner, was making unfair royalty demands. However, the judge didn’t throw out the liability finding.
Judge throws Optis’ damage award claim
It is vital to note that Optis and its partners in the claim Unwired Planet LLC and PanOptis Patent management had said that the iPhone maker’s tablets, watches, and smartphones operating in the LTE cellular standard were utilizing their patented tech. According to Judge Rodney Gilstrap, the jury should have been permitted to consider the consistency of the royalty demand relative to whether standard-essential patents should be licensed in reasonable, fair, and non-discriminatory terms.
Interestingly, the patent trial was in August and was among the few trials held at the height of the pandemic. It was part of the rare verdicts sweep in Texas that resulted in collective $3.7 billion damages against tech giants such as Apple and Intel Corp (NASDAQ:INTC). Also, the iPhone maker was hit with $502.8 million damages awards in the decade-long legal battery regarding security communications tech and $308.5 million in another suit involving digital rights management.
Optis case involves standard-essential tech for 4G communications
The Optis case involves tech the company says is vital in 4G communications standard implementation. There have been arguments regarding the valuing of patents on the “standard-essential technology” in the tech sector for decades. This became imperative following the advent of wireless inventions that have been incorporated into consumer products such as automobiles and home appliances.
According to Apple, the whole trial in the Optis suit was tainted since the jury wasn’t informed of the patent owner’s licensing requirements. The company said that the issue was not discussed before the jury since Optis had only asked the judge to determine if it was compliant with FRAND terms. Usually, companies come together in making devices, and they pledge to license patents under FRAND terms.