Jury Orders Apple To Pay $532.9M After Finding That iTunes Software Infringes On 3 Patents

Apple is on the hook for a hefty wad of cash after a Texas jury found its iTunes software infringes on three patents held by a company called Smartflash LLC. It’s been ordered to hand over $532.9 million, and has pledged to appeal the verdict.

At the center of the case are three patents owned by Smartflash that deal with data storage and payment management, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company alleged that a patent co-inventor shared his ideas back in 2000 with a man who is now a senior director at Apple.

Smartflash doesn’t make its own products, but claimed that Apple infringed on the patents by using the technology to manage apps sold through the iTunes store, like “Coin Dozer Pro” and “Grub Guardian,” all developed by outside companies. Two of those companies were also defendants before being dismissed from the case.

The jury said that Apple had willfully infringed on all three patents, and that it hadn’t proved the patents were no longer valid. Though $532.9 million is a hefty sum, Smartflash had been seeking even more in damages — $852 million.

“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,” said an Apple spokesperson, adding that Apple would be appealing the decision.

“I would expect Apple to say they will appeal as part of Apple’s standard operating procedure,” said Brad Caldwell, lead counsel for SmartFlash. “However, Smartflash believes the facts and the law support the jury’s verdict.”

Apple isn’t the only target Smartflash had in its sights — it also filed similar lawsuits against Google and Samsung Electronics.

Apple Is Ordered to Pay $532.9 Million in Patent Case [Wall Street Journal]

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