Now Smartflash wants $1.6bn for its iTunes patents. Apple: You'll get nothing and like it!

Cupertino jostles again with patent troll over cloudy media

Not content with a $533m payday, patent troll Smartflash is asking a US federal court to triple the infringement verdict it won against Apple and iTunes earlier this year.

In a 49-page filing [PDF] with the Texas Eastern District court, Smartflash argued that February's jury award was insufficient and should be tripled to nearly $1.6bn, while ongoing royalty rates should be tripled as well.

"Apple mounted no credible defenses. It was decisively beaten," Smartflash claimed. "Apple gambled on trial rather than making any attempt to deal with Smartflash directly, and significant enhancement is warranted."

Apple was found to have violated three Smartflash patents related to "data storage and access systems," including US Patent Nos 7,334,720, 8,118,221, and 8,336,772. All three seem to describe the same premise: a cloud service feeding media files to a portable device.

Apple has and continues to argue that the patents should be invalidated and that any cash awards to Smartflash should be tossed out. The Cupertino giant said in a filing [PDF] appealing the jury verdict that the patents were too vague in nature to survive a challenge and thus should not be the basis for any payout.

"Regardless of the jury's conclusion on the underlying issue, Apple raised a substantial question as to the obviousness of the asserted claims," Apple lawyers wrote.

"These arguments were at least as strong as those made in cases where the Federal Circuit deemed judgment of no willfulness as a matter of law appropriate despite adverse jury verdicts on validity and infringement."

Smartflash, however, tried to turn this argument around, suggesting that if Apple doesn't know how it infringed, it can't fix iTunes and thus an injunction is warranted – in this case, a tripling of the royalty fee.

"Apple stipulated that it has identified no non-infringing alternatives," Smartflash argued. "Thus, according to Apple, the only way that it can stop infringing is to stop selling the accused products altogether."

Regardless of the court's decision on these two appeals, we are far from reaching a resolution in this case. Apple has already vowed to appeal the case "up through the court system" until it gets its way. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021