October 24, 2013
Patent Trolls Denied A Win In Case Against Apple
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The court's decision marks the end of two years’ worth of litigation between the Canadian Wi-LAN and many other popular technology firms, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and HTC. Every company other than Apple that was sued by Wi-LAN in this case signed licensing agreements to avoid such a lengthy court battle.
However, just one week after the final trial against Apple began in Tyler, Texas, an area known for its friendliness to plaintiffs in these sorts of cases, the jury claimed there were no patents infringed in this particular case. Wi-LAN had been seeking damages up to $248 million, according to Apple Insider.
“WiLAN is disappointed with the jury's decision and is currently reviewing its options with trial counsel, McKool Smith,” reads a statement issued by the patent holdings company. “WiLAN does not believe previous license agreements signed related to the patents are negatively impacted by this decision.”
Wi-LAN is considered by many as a “Patent Troll,” or a company that doesn’t create or manufacture any new technology and instead brings in revenue by suing other companies for using its patents. According to the company's website, Wi-LAN has licensed its 3,000 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi patents to over 270 companies all over the world. Wi-LAN also claims it aims to help companies monetize their patents in one of two ways; either through buying the patents from the patent owner, or working directly with them to “leverage Wi-LAN’s resources.”
By its own admission, these resources include a “ team of patent attorneys, agents and engineers” who work together to find new patents, acquire these patents, and finally monetize them through litigation.
The other companies involved in this particular case, including Alcatel-Lucent and BlackBerry, helped Wi-LAN monetize these patents by paying licenses to the patent troll to continue using the technology in question. Apple was the last company involved in this case to refuse a licensing agreement and hold out against Wi-LAN.
Though this marks the final battle between Wi-LAN and Apple in this case, the battle isn’t over yet. Wi-LAN has other lawsuits it has lobbed against Apple and others over similar patents.
In 2007 and again in 2010, the patent holdings company sued Apple and others for alleged infringements of a Bluetooth patent. Just last December the company filed yet another lawsuit against Apple, Blackberry, HTC and others in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida for alleged infringement of a data and voice patent.