Apple wins smartphone patent case against California inventor

January 2007 iPhone introduction (Steve Jobs, multitouch patented slide)

Earlier this month we told you that California inventor Richard L. Ditzik was suing Apple, claiming its iPhone infringed on one of his patents. Well this week, the Cupertino company won the case against the 70-year-old electrical engineer.

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple was found not guilty of infringing on Ditzik’s so-called ‘smartphone patent.’ A jury in Los Angeles made the call yesterday, completely rejecting the claim by NetAirus Technologies—Ditzik’s shell company…

Here’s Bloomberg with more:

“Apple Inc. (AAPL), the world’s most valuable technology company, was found by a federal jury not to infringe the patent of a 70-year-old electrical engineer who claims he came up with the idea for the smartphone.

The jury in Los Angeles yesterday rejected the claim by NetAirus Technologies LLC, the company owned by inventor Richard L. Ditzik, that Apple’s iPhone infringes its patent for a handheld device that combines computer and wireless-communication functions over both a Wi-Fi and cellular telephone network.”

The jury’s decision wasn’t an easy one. Prior to the verdict, the group of 6 women and 2 men had been deadlocked, repeatedly sending notes to the judge over 3 days of deliberations saying that they were unable to reach a unanimous resolution.

“After jurors sent a note saying they were still deadlocked yesterday morning, attorneys agreed to accept a majority vote, and sent them back to deliberate again. A majority of the panelists voted in favor of Apple on all four questions about the patent at issue. They didn’t reach the damages question. “

Apple’s argument was that the technology at issue was so well known at the time Ditzik filed his patent, that it has been made a “poster child” for facially invalid patent arguments. And it pointed to its own handheld Newton MessagePad as prior art.

Last month, Apple defeated Wi-Lan Inc. in a trial over a $248 million royalty demand for wireless tech used in its mobile devices. And last week it won an additional $290 million in damages from Samsung in a retrial over damages from a 2012 victory.