Apple was cleared of all charges in a $100 million lawsuit from a Canadian firm that alleged that the manufacturer used five of its wireless technology patents without permission.
The lawsuit was filed in Tyler, Texas in 2012 by Core Wireless Licensing Sarl, a subsidiary of Canadian patent licensing firm Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc. The firm initially alleged that Apple infringed upon 14 of its wireless data transmission patents, but reduced that number to five "in order to streamline the case," seeking $100 million in damages.
The patents in question were transferred to Conversant following its acquisition of Core Wireless in 2011, which maintained a portfolio of over 2,000 patents and patent applications that were originally assigned to Nokia. Court documents revealed that at the time of the acquisition, Microsoft was licensing the patents:
At the time, as part of an agreement with Nokia, Microsoft Corp had a license to those patents, according to Conversant company documents.
In its purchase of Core Wireless, Conversant agreed to return two-thirds of any revenue from licensing and litigating the patents back to Microsoft and Nokia, according to the documents. A Microsoft representative on Monday night could not confirm whether that agreement was still in force.
While the jury found that Apple did not infringe upon Core Wireless' patent holdings, they also dismissed Apple's claim that Core Wireless breached fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms:
The jury deliberated for about five hours before delivering its verdict on Monday night. The company, whose patents were originally held by Nokia Corp, was seeking $100 million in damages at trial. It said it was entitled to a portion of Apple's device sales, and of similar, future devices. Apple pegged damages, if any, at less than $1 million.
The jury also rejected Apple's claim that Core Wireless breached its obligation to license its patents, which are considered essential in the industry, on fair and non-discriminatory terms.
Apple may have won in this instance, but another jury last month found the manufacturer guilty of infringing three of Smartflash LLC's patents, with the company ordered to pay $533 million in damages.