Appeals Court Throws Out Patent Verdict Against Smartflash LLC

Apple Australia

It has now been two years since a jury ordered Apple to pay Smartflash LLC over $500 million in a patent violation case.

However, it was reported back in June of last year that, more than likely, Apple could avoid the $532.9 million verdict, and therefore not pay out the amount ordered by the jurors the year before. Turns out that is indeed the case, as the trial went to a new appeals court in the United States, and the three-judge panel there tossed the patent dispute case out.

The patents involved data storage, and Smartflash, the company that levied the dispute against Apple, also took several other companies to court as well, many of which were focused on developing games.

The latest development in the case was reported by Reuters:

“The trial judge vacated the large damages award a few months after a Texas federal jury imposed it in February 2015, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said on Wednesday the judge should have ruled Smartflash’s patents invalid and set aside the verdict entirely.

A unanimous three-judge appeals panel said Smartflash’s patents were too “abstract” and did not go far enough in describing an actual invention to warrant protection.

The decision likely ends a case that had attracted wide attention when the verdict was rendered but had gone against the plaintiff ever since.”

What was going to quite a bit of money forced out of Apple’s back pocket has now been saved. Hopefully that means Apple will put it to better use.

[via Reuters]

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