Feeds

Apple ordered to pay $8m over playlist patents

Personal Audio spat

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A federal jury has ordered Apple to pay a patent-holding firm $8m for violating two patents, after a protracted battle in the Eastern District of Texas, a jurisdiction notorious for handing down decisions friendly to patent holders.

Eight million dollars, however, is substantially less than first claimed by Personal Audio LLC, a company that exisits solely to enforce its patents, not to build products. The Texas firm had requested $84m.

The suit was filed on June 25, 2009, and originally involved not only Apple, but also Coby Electronics, Archos, and Sirius XM Radio. Coby and Archos settled with Personal Audio out of court, and their portion of the case was dismissed in May 2010. Sirius did the same, and their involvment was dismissed in July 2010.

Apple stayed, a jury trial (eventually) ensued, and Apple lost – if damages of a mere $8m can be considered a loss.

Jury verdict in Personal Audio v. Apple patent-infringement lawsuit

The 470th document filed in case number 9:09-cv-00111-RC was the jury's verdict

At issue were two patents, 6,199,076 and 7,509,178, both summarized in part as relating to "An audio program and message distribution system in which a host system organizes and transmits program segments to client subscriber locations."

Essentially, the two patents describe a device – in this case, an iPod, iPhone, or iPad – being able to download playlists and navigate within them. The Texas jury came to the conclusion that the patents were valid, and that Apple was violating them.

After two years of convoluted legal maneuvering among all the parties involved, Judge Ron Clark submitted his 56-page instructions to the jury last Thursday. The jury filed their verdict on Friday, 744 days after the case was filed.

Jury verdict in Personal Audio v. Apple patent-infringement lawsuit

Two years + 10 Personal Audio lawyers + 16 Apple lawyers + 470 document filings = $8m

With a mere $8m at stake, there's little financial motivation for Apple to appeal the jury's decision or the amount of the award – but stranger things have happened in today's wide, wacky, woolly world of patent litigation.

Exhibit A: the Lodsys licensing lunacy, which is currently grinding away in that same US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.