Apple has been asked by Optis Cellular Technology a patent troll to pay $7 billion in patent licensing fees. Apple has refused to pay these fees and was sued by the company on the grounds of copyright infringement.
Last month, a British High Court judge ruled that Apple had infringed two Optis patents relating to technology that enables devices to connect to cellular networks. Optis has also made a number of additional claims about patent infringements from Apple.
Kathleen Fox Murphy, a lawyer representing Optis, commented that “everyone thinks about Apple as the market leader in smartphones, but Apple has to buy in most of the technology in an iPhone.”
Last year, a Texas court fined Apple $506 million for willfully infringing on a handful of PanOptis patents related to 4G LTE technology, but the ruling was overturned in an appeal.
As per Apple’s legal team if the conditions of the court ruling become “commercially unacceptable” then the company may have to exit the UK market completely.
I am not sure that is right… Apple’s position is it should indeed be able to reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market. There may be terms that are set by the court which are just commercially unacceptable.
The second ruling that upset Apple is that the UK Supreme Court said that any decision it made on the amount the iPhone maker must pay would apply worldwide, not just to its UK sales.
The judge understandably expressed skepticism about the idea of Apple exiting the UK market, but the company’s lawyer insisted that it might.
The idea of Apple quitting the UK market is of course laughable, but the case does again highlight the need for global patent reform to end the process of companies acquiring either standards-based or overly broad patents with the sole aim of extorting money from tech companies.