Apple Inc. Ordered To Pay $23M For Using Old Pager Patents

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been ordered by a court on Monday to pay $23.7 million in damages to Mobile Telecommunications Technologies (MTeL) regarding patent infringement. The company dragged the iPhone maker to court for features such as iOS-capable devices’ handling of iMessage, creating calendar invites and entering emoji characters.

Apple not happy with the verdict

According to Bloomberg, the federal jury in Marshall, Tex. reached the conclusion that Apple devices breached five out of six asserted patents, totaling to $23.6 million in damages. MTel asked the court to order Apple to pay $23 million in damages, which breaks down to approximately $1 per infringing device at the time of the suit filing.

The iPhone maker ruled out these accusations, saying most of them were invalid. However, the jury took the side of Apple on the one asserted patent covering emoji character input, a feature claimed to be covered by MTel’s messaging patent. Apple lawyer Brian Ferguson of Weil Gotshal said a damage amount of $237 million is not logical.

MTel’s attorney Daniel Scardino told Re/Code that the decision indicates the acknowledgement of past technologies on which modern advances in smartphone technology are built. Scardino added, “Apple makes a great product and they deserve a lot of the credit they get,” but companies should also recognize the inventors who initially introduced the technology, and, “That’s what this trial is all about.”

A similar case before

Previously Apple was caught into a similar patent suit by “patent troll” GPNE, which argued that the company has infringed its GPRS communications technology related to the pager system. However, Apple avoided paying $94 million, which was asked for damages.

MTel was the forerunner in the pager industry in the 1990s after the company introduced hardware and services for two-way paging. However, now paging system usage has been narrowed to doctors and emergency service personnel. MTel is now a licensing arm of United Wireless. Since 2012, MTel has sued, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB), Clearwire, Leap Wireless, LG Electronics, Sprint Nextel, HTC, ZTE, T-Mobile, Samsung, and United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS).

Some of the patents in questions have expired, but the law allows the holders of expired patents to claim up to six years of back royalty payments.

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