LegalNews

Patent trollin’: Judge rules Apple gets a new damages trail in legal battle with PanOptis

A Texas ju

A Texas judge has 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 US$506 million, reports Law360 (a subscription is required to read the entire article).

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.

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) 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. 

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.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.