Apple slapped with $23.6 million fine for infringing pager patents

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Yo, Apple the 90's are paging you. Photo: Hades2K
Paging Apple: The '90s wants its tech back. Photo: Hades2K/Flickr CC

It’s been decades since pagers played a central role in our tech lives, but the beeper is causing some headaches for Apple lately. A federal jury just slapped Apple with a $23.6 million fine for infringing patents related to ’90s technology.

Mobile Telecommunications Technologies sued Apple last year for violating several of its patents that govern two-way exchanges of data. Apple services such as iMessage, calendar invitations and emoji allegedly violated the patents, and after six hours of deliberation, the jury found Apple was guilty of five out of the six charges.

TTexas-based MTel was an emerging wireless pioneer in the 1990s with its two-way paging system that paved the way for more advanced wireless communications. The company was suing Apple for damages of $237.2 million, but the jury awarded just a fraction of that figure.

This isn’t the first time Apple’s had beeper problems lately. Last month, Apple came away victorious from a $94 million civil suit filed by a Honolulu company.

While MTel didn’t get all the money it was hoping for, the company’s attorney applauded the jury’s verdict, saying it finally gives credit to the those who came before Apple to advance the state of technology.

“The guys working back then at SkyTel were way ahead of their time,” said Andrew Fitton, chief executive officer of United Wireless. “This is vindication for all their work.”

Source: Bloomberg