Apple attorneys have warned the company might exit the UK market if the terms of an ongoing patent dispute are “commercially unacceptable,” according to This is Money. I’m skeptical this would actually happen, but who knows?
About the dispute
The dispute involves a £5billion (about US$7billion) legal battle. Apple’s lawyers warned it could quit the UK market if a court forces the company to pay an unreasonable fee for the technology used in its iPhones.
This involves a legal battle with Optis Cellular Technology, which I consider a “patent troll.” 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.
The legal brouhaha is ongoing in both the UK and the U.S. In the former, a High Court judge ruled last month that Apple had infringed two Optis patents, which help iPhones connect to the 3G and 4G networks.
Apple faces a trial in 2022 over how much it should pay. The UK Supreme Court ruled last year that a UK court is able to set the rate Apple should pay for all of its iPhone patents worldwide, even though the court only considers the infringement of UK patents.