Closely held Smartflash LLC, which claimed that Apple infringed three patents, was seeking $852 million in damages, while Apple said it was worth $4.5 million at most. A federal jury in Tyler, Texas, where Smartflash is based, on Tuesday rejected Apple’s arguments that it didn’t use the inventions and that the patents were invalid.
The patents deal with digital rights management, data storage, and managing access through payment systems.
“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “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.”
“Apple doesn’t respect Smartflash’s inventions,” the company’s lawyer, John Ward of Ward & Smith in Longview, Texas, told the jury. “Not a single witness could be bothered with reviewing the patent.”
Smartflash had been seeking $852 million in damages. It claimed that Apple intentionally infringed the patents, partly because one Apple executive had been briefed on the technology over a decade ago.
The company has also sued Samsung, Google, and Amazon for patent infringement.