In February, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was told to pay $533 million for infringing patents of Smartflash LLC in iTunes service. Samsung was also sued for infringing the patents and is convincing US regulators to review the jury’s decision.
If the U.S Patent and Trademark Offices decide to reverse the decision, it will benefit both Samsung and Apple. The company had spent four years to battle over the patent infringement on four continents. The patents of the Texas licensing firm Smartflash are based on controlling access to digital data through payment systems.
“Can Apple put off paying any damages until there’s a resolution of the Samsung case?” said Justin Oliver, head of Flizpatrick, Cella Harper & Scinto’s office for the patent office proceedings.
The complaint stated that the inventor of the patent Patrick Racz, wanted to commercialize the invention in 2002 with pop singer Britney Spears. Preliminary findings were issued by the patent review board as patents were not eligible for legal protection as they were not actual inventions, but abstract ideas.
However, Smartflash is unlikely to win the, based on the agency’s previous reviews. Smartflash’s lawyer stated that the company was through this fight before. Jason Cassady of Caldwell, Cassady and Curry in Dallas mentioned that the presiding judge has considered the same issue and had sided with Smartflash. Cassady feels confident as he feels the case is different from most cases.
Last year, the decision by U.S Supreme Court ruled that certain software inventions will only be eligible for legal protection. The High Court stated that merely having an established generic computer to do an established business isn’t an invention. The preliminary decision is likely to go against Smartflash’s case.
Smartflash claims that Apple and Samsung has infringed six patents and the agency has decided to review five of them. The decision to review was based on petitions from Apple and Samsung. A Samsung petition to invalidate the patent is an also used by Apple and could save the company of $533 million. However Samsung, did not file the petition to save Apple as the company has an August trial in Tyler, Texas.
Tyler-based Smartflash has sued Samsung for the use of its technology in Samsung Media Hub, without paying royalties. Apple must either win the case or extend the civil case until Smartflash patents are ruled. Apple’s appeal is set to be heard by the appeals court that specializes in patent law.
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