iPhone 6 Plus (in hand 003)

Bloomberg is reporting this morning that Apple’s iPhone and other devices have been found to infringe half a dozen pager technology patents owned by a Texas company called Mobile Telecommunications Technologies LLC.

Six patents owned by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies are valid and infringed, a federal jury in Marshall, Texas, has found.

The iPhone maker was ordered to pay the Texas company $23.6 million in damages.

Deron Dacus of the Dacus Firm in Tyler, Texas, who represents Mobile Telecommunications, told the jury in closing arguments that “Apple is refusing to acknowledge the contributions of others,” adding that “this case is about fairness.”

The patent infringement lawsuit targeted Apple’s iMessage service, the Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule wireless appliances and mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Mobile Telecommunications is behind SkyTel, a two-way paging system that was all the rage in the 1990s. The SkyTel network has remained operational to this date and is still used for emergency by doctors and first responders.

“The guys working back then at SkyTel were way ahead of their time,” said Andrew Fitton, chief executive officer of United Wireless. “This is vindication for all their work.”

Earlier this month, the iPhone maker successfully deflected a California civil suit put forth by GPNE, a non-practicing patent holding company in Honolulu, which sought nearly $100 million in damages over an alleged infringement of its pager technology patents.

Regarding that case, Apple in a statement called GPNE a patent troll and called the lawsuit an “attempt to extort money from Apple for 20 year old pager patents that have expired, wasting time for everyone involved.”


  • Guest

    Fanboys defending Apple is 3,2,1…

    • Jeff Maxwell

      No defense here. I’m a little surprised that any pager patents are still in effect, but patent law is highly complex. If an informed jury listened to the evidence and made a decision that there was infringement, then Apple should pay. I’m sure they’ll appeal but that’s just the way the court system works.

      Sorry to disappoint but I don’t see any reason to get emotional about it one way or the other.

      • hese

        is there a expire date for the patents ?

      • Jeff Maxwell

        For these types of patents I believe that it’s 17 years for patents filed before 1995 and 20 years for those filed after. Pager technology has been around so long that I assumed they’d all expired. But I know patent law is complex and rarely clear. That’s why intellectual property courts exist.

      • hese

        thanks 🙂

      • I would not be surprised if that company that lost the earlier troll-suit had dug up this ancient patent and made a deal with the Texas firm to split the booty.

    • When it comes to iOS vs Droid, no defense is really required or necessary.

  • nyangejr

    This i do not understand

  • Charlie DuHadway

    I don’t really think apple gives a damn if they infringe on a few patents. yes I’m sure they avoid it, but they are more interested in making the best devices, with the tech they wanna use. And if they don’t buy out the company that owns the patients they just use the tech anyway, even if its not theirs. And because of how many of their devices they sell, 23.6 mill really isn’t that big of a deal for them to pay out for it.

    • Dan

      this guy gets it

    • Byron C Mayes

      Apple and pretty much any other deep-pocketed company (and not just tech companies). Basically this type of suit is the cost of doing business nowadays.

  • Maxim∑

    Apple probably loses a bunch of “micro” lawsuits every month but it never makes the news

    • Byron C Mayes

      It’s effectively part of the cost of doing big-business nowadays. I’m sure the accountants factor in suits — as defendant and as plaintiff — in their projections for each year.

  • jp2002

    Damages! Truly apple damaged them for not innovating enough.

  • Chris Buck

    There has been a desire for years for Patent Law Reform to make it more understandable. Right now Patent Laws are as complex as Obamacare.
    Clarity and Transparency are not the US Governments strong suit.

    • The only reason there are problems with Affordable Care is due to republican interference: Since they are not able to effectively repeal it, they sabotage it, but in the meantime they use it while complaining about it.. But you are correct, Patent Law is a can of worms nobody wants to deal with reforming.

  • Fanboy 

    The $23M must feel like handing out a $5 bill for Apple lol

  • Took them long enough, iMessage has been in what, every iPhone since the 1st Gen iPhone?

    • WonkieInc

      Since iOS5 but anyway

      • But they had SMS from the start, and iMessage was their cloud version.

      • WonkieInc

        True, but SMS was in no way an apple technology

      • Actually it had been around for a while, I think I had seen some cell phones in the early 90’s that had it. But this is about SkyTel, and I remember that. It is in no way even close to iMessage, it’s considerably more limited – But it in fact SkyTel was created for a specific use. The only way their claim can be valid is if Apple used specific code from their products, and well, you know how Apple is about revealing Code they have used, and obscuring it. So they can’t just say “iMessage does something that SkyTel did”, because iMessage might indeed seem like it does, but the code and delivery systems will be completely different. I don’t even see how this case was won, but hey, it’s Texas which explains it. Keep an eye on it and see if Apple appeals it.

  • George

    apple needs to start inventing shit and stop with the shitty 1 year small updates.

    • Needs to? Heck no, they’ve got more than enough flock to survive for the next decade…more like should. They focus on just the PC industry, while competition focuses on both the PC industry and the home-electronics industry, yet they still manage to lag behind competition despite all their resources…all thanks their flock.

  • singhay559

    Everybody wants a piece of an apple