We’ve seen Apple go to the courtrooms more often than any other company in recent times, and that’s because it holds a large number of patents which are often unintentionally infringed on by other companies. But today we have learnt that this time it’s Apple which has infringed on 3 patents jointly held by Nokia, Sony and MPEG-LA, according to a ruling passed by the jury in Wilmington, Delaware. It must be noted that Nokia, Sony and MPEG-LA have jointly formed a company known as MobileMedia to protect their patents.
Apple was taken to court in 2010 claiming that the company infringed on 14 of their patents, although only three eventually made its way to the court. And the jurors have sided by the petitioners (MobileMedia) and claimed that Apple have in fact infringed on their patents. CEO of MobileMedia, Mr. Larry Horn said – “We’re very pleased. We think it’s justified.”
If you want to go into details of the patents, these are the three patents in question – 6,070,068, 6,253,075, 6,427,078. MobileMedia also has ongoing patent suits with companies like HTC (11 patents) and RIM (12 patents), so one might say Apple has finally met its match. MobileMedia owns about 300 patents, so no day passes by when a new company accidentally infringes on their patent and the company takes them to court. It’s just fair business. However, in this case, Apple might appeal the ruling to a higher court. The three patents that Apple were claimed to be infringing on were pertaining to the “call handling and call rejection” as well as the phone’s camera. The only company to have famously won over Apple in a patent suit was Nokia back in 2011 which gained $608 million on a 3G related patent and license fees for future usage of the patent.
People have been often claiming that patent suits have largely handicapped innovation and rightly so. It is rather surprising how the Patent Authorities certify and approve certain patents from major companies like Apple. I guess it’s just how business is done these days. This doesn’t seem to be ending here though as Apple will look to retaliate and appeal. However, it’s probably wise for the company to settle and not drag this any further so as to avoid further embarrassment.