Apple Must Pay $506 million over use of PanOptis LTE patents

Apple iPhone with 4G setting
Apple iPhone with 4G setting (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has been ordered to pay $506 million by an Eastern District of Texas jury.
  • It has been found guilty of infringing upon patents held by PanOptis and related companies.
  • The patents relate to the use of LTE in iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

Apple has been ordered to pay a cool $506 million to PanOptis and related companies over the use of patents that it hasn't paid a licensing fee for. Those patents relate to the use of 4G LTE technology in Apple's iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

Not only was Apple found guilty of infringing upon the patents, but according to a Law360 report, it was also accused of doing so "willfully".

The Eastern District of Texas jury said Apple failed to prove any of PanOptis' challenged patent claims are invalid, and then said Apple willfully infringed the patents. The $506.2 million number is a royalty for past sales, according to the verdict form.

Apple has already said that it plans to appeal, saying that " lawsuits like this by companies who accumulate patents simply to harass the industry only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers."

For their part, PanOptis and its companies say that they tried to come up with a deal with Apple that would allow it to acquire the licensing needed to avoid the dispute. Apple wasn't interested, however.

The case itself, interestingly, was the first in-person jury trial related to patents to take place in the United States. Not that it will matter to Apple when it's checking the back of Tim Cook's sofa for a spare $506 million.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.