Patents developed for the SkyTel network and owned by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies LLC are valid and were infringed by Apple, a federal jury in Marshall, Texas, said late yesterday. MTel, which got about a tenth of what it had been seeking in damages, claimed Apple’s Airport Wi-Fi products and iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices with messaging used the technology.
This is the second trial in which Apple has been accused of using pager technology without paying for it. It won the first case against a different company last month in California.
Mobile Telecommunications Technologies' patents date back to the mid-to-late-1990s and have nearly expired. At one point the SkyTel 2-Way paging system was on the forefront of technology. The company is now the licensing arm of United Wireless which co-owns the SkyTel network used by doctors and other first responders.
“The guys working back then at SkyTel were way ahead of their time,” said Andrew Fitton, chief executive officer of United Wireless. “This is vindication for all their work.”