Apple ordered to pay $533M for infringing Smartflash patents

As reported by Bloomberg, a federal jury found Apple quilty of infringing patents held by holding company Smartflash LLC. Filed in 2013, the original lawsuit claims that the iTunes Store, the iOS and Mac App Store, and Apple's other transaction services infringe on three Smartflash patents that cover "data storage and managing access through payment systems." The company originally was seeking $852 million in damages, but was awarded $533M as part of the jury's decision.

Apple argued against Smartflash's patents, claiming the patents were invalid and the company's royalty demands were excessive.

“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 Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “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.”
— Apple

Our take on the news:

Because of its success, Apple is a magnet for patent infrignement lawsuits, especially by patent holding companies looking to make it big. This case, like the others before it, must play out in the court system with an appeal by Apple likely to be the next step in the process.