Apple may not have to feed patent troll $533m after all

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Apple wants patent trolls to stop ‘gaming the system’
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

In a blow against patent trolls everywhere, a federal judge has thrown out a $532.9 million damages award against Apple, saying that the jury in the case may have had a “skewed damages horizon.”

The case relates to a trial which took place earlier this year, in which a Texas court awarded the company Smartflash a little over half of the $852 million it had asked for, after Apple allegedly infringed on its intellectual property with iTunes features related to data storage and managing access through payment systems.

In a decision today, Texas U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap admitted jurors may have been confused by his instructions on how to properly calculate royalties. Apple’s lawyers had argued that jurors were unable to distinguish between patented and unpatented features.

Apple had previously argued that, “Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” according to company spokeswoman 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.”

A new trial will take place on September 14.

Source: Reuters