Apple Ordered to Pay More Than $300 Million for Infringing DRM Patent

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 21 Mar 2021

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple has been told to pay nearly $310 million for infringing patents related to digital rights management after a federal jury in Texas passed the orders in favor of a local licensing firm.

Apple has been ordered to $308.5 million to Personalized Media Communications, Bloomberg has reported. The decision comes after a jury passed orders in favor of the local licensing firm which accused Apple of infringing a patent related to digital rights management.

Apple has been asked to pay running loyalty to the Texas-based firm. A running loyalty is the amount of money the firm would have earned, dependent on the level of sales or usage, had Apple not violated the patent. An expert had calculated the Cupertino-based giant owed $240 million in royalties.

Disappointed with the fine, Apple said:

“Cases like this, brought by companies that don’t make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers”

In 2015, the same company had sued Apple for allegedly infringing seven of its patents. The original decision event went in their favor, with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board turning the decision towards Apple. Later in 2019, appeals in the US court restarted the trial, and now the decision has been passed in the firm’s support.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been fined. Yesterday, reports broke out that a Brazilian court had ordered Apple to pay $2 million for selling iPhones without chargers. Earlier this year, Apple was reported to lose over $1 billion in the VPN VirnetX patent infringement case.

Our Take

It’s very rare that a decision like this, amount to this level of money, turns against Apple, with the company using its power as a leverage against the complainers. It has been reported that laws in Texas have made it easier to sue tech giants and make money off them, which is said to be the reason why many Apple stores have been closed in the area.

[Via Bloomberg]