$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

Smartflash reportedly happy with the verdict. Pope, Catholic

Apple has been ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to Texas-based patent licensing company Smartflash after a jury found that Cupertino's iTunes music service had violated three patents.

Late on Tuesday, a jury at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas – when asked if Smartflash had proved "by clear and convincing evidence that Apple's infringement was wilful" – answered yes in response to three patents related to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games.

The jury rejected (PDF) Apple's attempts to prove that Smartflash's claims about the patents were invalid.

Apple complained that the outcome of the case was another reason for reform of the patent system, which would curb litigation by companies that do not make products themselves, such as Smartflash.

The iPhone maker told Reuters:

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.

Smartflash told the news wire it was happy with the verdict.

Apple had argued that previously patented inventions covered the same technology.

When asked what sum of money would "fairly and reasonably" compensate Smartflash for Apple's infringement of three of its patents, the jury responded with a figure set at $532.9m. ®

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