Patent trollin’: London’s Court of Appeals denies Apple’s appeal in legal battle against Optis : Tech Live Trends

London’s Court of Appeal has ruled that Apple infringed two telecommunications patents used in devices including iPhones and iPads, dismissing the tech giant’s appeal in a long-running dispute with a U.S. patent holder, reports Reuters. 

In February 2019, a group of firms operating under the name Optis Wireless Technology (including Optis Wireless Technology LLC, Unwired Planet LLC, and PanOptis Patent Management LLC) — which I consider a “patent troll” — sued Apple over seven patents connected to LTE cellular standards. Every LTE Apple device is affected, including not just iPhones but iPads and the Apple Watch, according to court documents. 

In April 2021, a Texas judge ruled that Apple is entitled to a new damages trial after a jury found in August 2020 that the tech giant infringed PanOptis’ 4G wireless patents and must pay $506 million.

Judge Rodney Gilstrap said that, in the jury trial, both Apple and PanOptis had previously decided to reserve a key issue for a later bench trial. He said that the jury were not told what the FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) terms would be and that therefore the “casts serious doubt on the reliability of the verdict.” He didn’t agree to a retrial over whether Apple had infringed on the patents, he did agree to one regarding the amount of damages owed.

The $505 million was reduced to $300 million, but Apple protested that there had been multiple issues with evidence, testimony, jury instructions, and the amount of money Optis was awarded. Apple therefore argued that it was entitled to a third trial.That was denied this week.

PanOptis is described as an “an intellectual property management and finance firm.” In other words, a “patent troll.” a patent troll is an individual or an organization that purchases and holds patents for unscrupulous purposes such as stifling competition or launching patent infringement suits. In legal terms, a patent troll is a type of non-practicing entity: someone who holds a patent but is not involved in the design or manufacture of any product or process associated with that patent.

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