Canadian patent troll loses infringement lawsuit against Apple


Canadian-based patent troll Wi-LAN lost its bid to force Apple to license patents covering several major wireless technologies. A jury found Apple did not infringe on two Wi-LAN patents dealing with CDMA, HSPA (3G), Wi-Fi and LTE. The patent company wanted Apple to pay $248 million.

In a statement, Wi-LAN said it was disappointed with the court’s decision, but feels the Marshall, Texas federal ruling will not hurt previous licensing deals now in place.

Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry are among the companies which have settled lawsuits…

“WiLAN is disappointed with the jury’s decision and is currently reviewing its options with trial counsel,” the company announced Wednesday. A win was important for Wi-LAN as the licensing agreement with Apple could have paid much of the cost of lawsuits.

According to Bloomberg, Wi-LAN lost $762,000 in the second quarter “with litigation expenses accounting for much of its costs.”

As we frequently note, patent trolls understand that defending infringement claims costs large sums, a key reason why many companies settle without going to court. Along with ruling Apple had not infringed upon the patents, the Texas jury also found the patent claims invalid.

Apple was the last tech company that Wi-LAN had sued but had yet to sign a licensing agreement. During trial, Mark Scarsi of Millbank Tweed, defended Apple.

Scarsi told jurors that a year before the iPhone was introduced in 2007 Wi-LAN had valued the patented technology at $4.3 million. By 2011, when the lawsuit against Apple began, the company asked for a cool $248 million.

“They are claiming the entire value of the iPhone, including the charger – that’s why they are suing Apple and not Qualcomm,” Bloomberg quotes Scarsi.

Apple had argued the iPhone don’t employ Wi-LAN technology as they’re from Qualcomm, which already owns or licenses the necessary patented technology in these chips in order to protect its clients.

The court victory for Apple follows a loss to long-time patent troll Lodsys.

On a related noted, Google-owned Motorola is the first convicted patent troll after a federal jury recently slapped Google with a $14.5 million fine related to Motorola licenses. The handset maker was creatively demanding $4 billion to license Wi-Fi and video patents that were supposed to be available under fair and reasonable terms.