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back to article Apple bats away WiLAN cellular data patents sueball

Intellectual property licensing company WiLAN has lost a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, despite scoring settlements against companies like Dell and HP. The company was looking for $248m from the fruity firm for wireless tech used in its mobile devices, but a jury decided in just over an hour that Apple's products …

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Coat

It looks like they need...

...some McKool Aid.

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Juries

So what was a popularity contest between lawyers decided by a jury has now become a popularity contest between companies decided by juries.

So 12 "persons-of-coloured-neck" (or whatever the politically correct term is) in East Texas choose if Apple is nicer than Samsung or HP is nicer than some wifi chip maker they have never heard of - and billions of $ of trade are decided?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Juries

actually this is the most impressive thing about apple's victory; the east texas courts are frequently used for patent litigation because they tend to side with the patent holders.

also, I believe the word "coloured" has fallen out of favour in the politically correct crowd; perhaps "rustically-inclined american" or "culturally-challenged caucasian" would be more appropriate.

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Re: Juries

However much I dislike Apple and its monopolistic tendencies, it's hard to believe anyone would actually defend a patent troll.

Their name may suggest they have some connection with technology, but the connection ends with the name. They contribute nothing to this world and exist solely to sue companies for patent violations.

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NKBP

Awesome PC English: "persons of coloured neck"

Reminded me of my uncle's PC term for midgets. He used to say "No, you can't say Midget any more! You have to call them People of Restricted Growth... or 'Porgs' for short."

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Anonymous Coward

@yaac. Don't be misled by the high profile antics of a few. Juries are, in general, smarter than you think.

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re: Juries are, in general, smarter than you think.

When it comes to people I agree. But Patents, like tax law cases, don't depend on whether the defendant seems honest - they depend on small print of arguments between corporations of a definition of a word.

So like the multi-year corporate tax trials it isn't clear that a group of randomly selected people are the best to judge the facts.

Especially when the arguments are so involved it ends up being "I like that apple cos I have an iPhone" vs " I don't like Samsung cos them gooks bombed Pearl Harbor"

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What about the ones that gave in?

Is there any difference between Apple's use of wireless tech used in mobile devices and the other companies' use of it? If not, then they can consider backing out of the licensing deals because "we were bamboozled by slimy lawyers". Or, maybe I misunderstand how the real world works.

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Re: What about the ones that gave in?

@ frank ly

Actually, I'm not sure that that's the case.

My understanding is that, if you buy, say, a box that BOTH you and the seller believe is full of diamonds, and it turns out that they're all lumps of glass, you're STILL on the hook for the purchase price, since you both believed, at the time that the deal was made, that the contents were worth a given value. If WiLAN and the licensees both believed that the patents were good and contracts were signed to license the tech covered by these patents, then the licensee should be blocked from backing out of the deals. They would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that WiLAN knew that the patents were indefensible and intentionally defrauded the licensees.

"WiLAN does not believe previous license agreements signed related to the patents are negatively impacted by this decision."

This sounds to me an AWFUL lot like they're telling the ones who settled "It doesn't matter that the court said the patents were invalid, you signed a legally-binding contract and we're going to hold you to it because Rule #1 is YOU NEVER GIVE THE MONEY BACK!"

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Re: What about the ones that gave in?

They are probably correct.

The deal they offered the other companies was. Go to court and risk a $Bn settlement against you OR pay a $M fee and agree that you don't come after us even if the patents are overthrown.

You would probably have to prove that the trolls knew the patents were completely invalid and were criminally extorting money from you and that your $Bn corporation's own lawyers couldn't know this - to get your money back

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Once again, Lawyers win!

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"WiLAN bags the vast majority of its cash from royalty payments and it hasn't been doing too well recently."

Boo Hoo. I'm crying a river of tears for them.

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Clerk

WI-LAN is the Canadian company that invented Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. As such, entitled to something.

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