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Apple ordered to pay half a billion dollars for patent infringement

A federal jury in Texas has ordered Apple to pay more than half a billion dollars after the company was found guilty of infringing three patents held by a local company.

The patents, held by Smartflash LLC, relate to digital rights management, data storage and access through payment systems. They were seemingly infringed upon by Apple’s iTunes and some of the apps found in the App Store, though the plaintiff also mentioned the Mac App Store, and iAd as avenues for infringement.

Smartflash, a company that doesn’t produce anything and lives by litigation and licensing of its seven patents, argued that it deserved to be awarded $825 million in damages, as a percent of iPhone sales. Apple on the other hand argued that the patents were invalid, and even if they weren’t, they’d be worth around $4.5 million at best.

The jury found in favor of Smartflash and awarded the company damages of just above half a billion dollars. One the company’s strongest arguments was that a current Apple exec had seen the technology that his company copied, nearly a decade ago.

Smartflash is also going after other big players in the industry now that the Apple case is over. Its next targets are Samsung, Google and Amazon which were sued around the same time as the iPhone maker.

Source: Bloomberg |Image via Geekwire

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