December 2012

December 14, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – A jury in San Diego found that Apple Inc. and LG Electronics Inc. did not infringe patents for electronic devices including phones and computers owned by Multimedia Patent Trust, an Alcatel-Lucent SA subsidiary.  The verdict was issued Thursday after a trial that lasted more than two weeks in the Southern District of the United States District Court. The trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff.

The Paris-based Multimedia Patent Trust filed the lawsuit in December 2010 and it asked the jurors to award $9.1 million in royalty damages from LG Electronics and $172.3 million in royalty damages from Apple.

The Plaintiff accused LG Electronics of infringing two of its patents and Apple of infringing three of its patents for video-compression technology, which aids in sending data via satellite and over the Internet and allows for increased media storage on DVDs and Blu-Ray disks. The patent trust claimed the patents were infringed by multiple devices including LG Electronics’ Chocolate Touch VX8575, Touch AX8575, Bliss, UX700, Mystique UN610, Samba LG8575, and Lotus Elite LX610 as well as Apple’s MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The patent trust also claimed that at least 33 different companies have paid more than $190 million to license the patents in question and Apple and LG Electronics should have to pay the licensing fees as well.

Apple and LG Electronics argued that they had in fact compensated the Multimedia Patent Trust because they are members of an industry-wide patent pool. The companies also claimed that the trust was attempting to expand the scope of its expired patents to cover technology that it does not own.

Though Apple and LG Electronics have a verdict, the two-year patent war is far from over between the companies. The patent trust has already motioned for mistrial, sighting the behavior of Apple’s counsel during closing arguments as reason to retry the case. Apple received the ruling just hours after losing a separate, unrelated case against MobileMedia, a subsidiary of Sony, MPEG-LA and Nokia. In that case a Delaware jury found Apple had infringed three patents dealing with the operation of the phone’s camera and call handling.

December 12, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – Apple and Google are reportedly working together to offer Eastman Kodak more than $500 million for its imaging patents, which are being sold as part of Kodak’s bankruptcy proceedings.

The two technology giants are bidding on an undisclosed amount of Kodak’s 1,100 patents related to capturing, manipulating and sharing digital images.  Kodak valued the patents at $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion in its court documents, claiming it has made more than $3 billion by licensing the patents to companies such as Samsung Electronics, Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, LG Electronics and other technology companies.

Bidding entities disagreed with the figure Kodak assigned to its patents, as the first round of bids were reported to be in the $150 to $250 million range, likely because the value of the patents has been diluted due to Kodak’s excessive licensing.

Kodak is unwilling to sell its patents for that low of a figure as its $850 million loan offer, which it needs to pull out of bankruptcy, is contingent upon its patents selling for no less than $500 million.

In the first round of bidding, California-based companies Apple and Google were bidding against each other.  Apple is teaming up with Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures while Google is working with RPX Corp. and Asian manufacturers of Google’s Android phones.

Though Apple and Google are major competitors in the smartphone market and have had patent disputes in the past, partnering to purchase the patents allows both companies to not only reduce the cost but also limit the likelihood of patent infringement claims in the future.

This will not be the first time Apple has teamed up with a major competitor to purchase patents.  Apple teamed up with Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, to buy 6,000 patents from Nortel Network’s Corp. for $4.5 billion.  The companies were able to out bid Google, who only offered $900 million.  Google and Apple refused to comment on the alleged bid, as each company said it would not comment on rumors.  New York-based company Kodak would not comment on the purchase either, due to a court ordered confidentiality agreement.

Once Kodak secures its exit financing, it plans to shrink the company and move its focus away from photography, as the company was unable to keep up with the switch to digital.  Instead, it plans to focus on commercial, packaging and functional printing services.