LegalNews

Supreme Court tosses Apple’s challenge against the US Patent and Trademark Office

An Apple challenge against the US Patent and Trademark Offices has been denied, according to iMore. The U.S.Supreme Court tossed out Apple’s challenge on Tuesday.

The petition sought to establish whether the USPTO decisions to throw out patent challenges could be themselves challenged in court. iMore notes that confirmation that Apple’s petition was denied emerged Tuesday, after the company filed a petition to the Supreme Court in 2021 as part of its long-running dispute with Optis Technology. 

In August 2021, a U.S. jury has awarded Optis Wireless Technology (which I consider a “patent troll”) and several related companies US$300 million in damages after a second patent trial against Apple.

About the dispute

A jury had previously found that Apple had infringed five Optis wireless standard essential patents and awarded $506 million in damages. However, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in Marshall, Texas, vacated that award in April and ordered a new trial to determine the amount of damages.

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. 

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. 

In a statement, Apple said: “Optis makes no products and its sole business is to sue companies using patents they accumulate. We will continue to defend against their attempts to extract unreasonable payments for patents they acquire.”

What’s a patent troll?

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 authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher 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.
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