Samsung To Do Apple A Favour In Patent Battle?
Apple had been ordered to pay the sum by a US federal jury, which ruled that Apple’s iTunes music store uses software infringing on patents held by Texas company Smartflash, which has been dubbed a “patent troll”.
As reported by Bloomberg, Samsung, which is being sued over the same technology, has convinced US regulators to review whether two of Smartflash’s patents should have been issued in the first place.
If a review board at the US Patent and Trademark Office finds in Samsung’s favour, it will benefit both Samsung and Apple.
“Can Apple put off paying any damages until there’s resolution of the Samsung case?” Bloomberg reported Justin Oliver, who heads Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto’s office for contested patent office proceedings, as stating.
“If it’s forced to pay damages, it’s very difficult to get that back.”
Apple announced plans to appeal following the court decision earlier this year.
“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” Apple said in a media statement following the decision.
“We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating – and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”
A patent agency review board has issued preliminary findings that the patents aren’t eligible for legal protection because they cover abstract ideas, not actual inventions, Bloomberg reported, with a panel of judges to consider arguments from both Samsung and Smartflash before reaching a final decision in about a year.
Based on the agency’s prior reviews, the odds of Smartflash winning the case aren’t good, Bloomberg reported, with 100 per cent of the small number of cases based on claims that the invention was an abstract idea found ineligible for patents, according to a study by the Fitzpatrick law firm.