(Reuters) – Apple Inc. persuaded a federal judge to overturn a $ 308.5 million verdict it lost on a private licensee for infringing a digital rights management patent.
In a decision on Thursday night, U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap said that Personalized Media Communications LLC was deliberately delaying filing its application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in hopes of receiving a larger payment.
"This court takes very seriously the prospect of disturbing the unanimous verdict of a duly empanied jury. "But PMC's 'deliberate delay strategy' was a" deliberate and gross misuse of the statutory patent system, "wrote Judge Gilstrap.
PMC, based in Sugar Land, Texas, argued in its 201
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
PMC's patent application was dated on applications filed in the 1980s.
Judge Gilstrap said that the PMC employed a so-called "submarine" patent strategy, filing serial applications and then keeping its patent portfolio "hidden" until the industry largely adopted the underlying technology.
He said that the PMC would charge license fees or claim infringement only after believing that infringement was widespread.
He cited a 1991 internal PMC document identifying Apple, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Microsoft as "natural candidates" for its strategy.
A June 1 decision by the Federal Labor Court of Appeal handling patent litigation made it easier to challenge submarine patents.