Apple ordered to pay $300 million in LTE patent dispute

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Apple will have to pay another company a handsome amount to keep using certain wireless tech. Bloomberg and The Register report that a Texas jury has determined that Apple must pay patent firm Optis $300 million for allegedly violating patents covering LTE cellular service in devices like the iPhone and iPad. A jury had awarded Optis just over $506 million in 2020, but the judge in the case ordered a damages-only trial over concerns the earlier jurors hadn’t considered whether the demand was fair for standards-based patents.



a close up of a person holding a cell phone




a close up of a person holding a cell phone: Apple iPhone 11 and iPhone 12


© Chris Velazco/Engadget
Apple iPhone 11 and iPhone 12

Optis is also chasing Apple in the UK, where it hopes to set a global royalty rate that could net up to $7 billion. Its patents come from other companies, including LG, Panasonic and Samsung.

Apple still intends to fight back. The tech giant accused Optis of being a patent troll in a statement, noting that the firm exists solely to sue companies using purchased patents. Apple would keep resisting Optis’ efforts to obtain “unreasonable payments” for patents, the iPhone maker said.

As The Register notes, the $300 million payout will barely make a mark on Apple’s finances. The company made $21.7 billion in net income just in its latest quarter — the Optis payment will represent slightly over one day’s profits. The concern, of course, is that Optis will succeed in getting regular payments that could add to Apple’s costs and drive hardware prices upward.

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