Bloomberg News is reporting this morning that Apple's iPhone has been found to infringe on three MobileMedia patents in a US court. For those unaware, MobileMedia is an outfit that's owned by Sony, MPEG-LA and Nokia, being formed in early 2010 mostly as a means to enforce patents owned by the trio. Earlier this year, a court ruled that a screen rotation patent suit couldn't go to trial, with the primary issue being a question of whether the iPhone's rotation and call rejection features violated patents held by Sony and Nokia.
We're learning that jurors in Wilmington, Delaware deliberated for around four hours after a weeklong trial before concluding that the trifecta of patents at hand weren't invalid. MobileMedia Chief Executive Officer Larry Horn said in a post-trial courtroom interview: "We're very pleased. We think it's justified." Of course, many would file MobileMedia into the "patent troll" category, as the firm sued Apple in 2010 contending that it infringed 14 patents in total. The case ended up going to trial after the number was carved down to three. The US patents in question are 6,070,068, 6,253,075, 6,427,078, with one of them noted for revolving around the camera's phone and the others covering "call handling and call rejection."
All told, MobileMedia has a binder of around 300 patents, with an MMI spokesperson confirming to us that there are also ongoing trials with RIM (regarding 12 patents) and HTC (regarding 11 patents). Said person wouldn't comment on our questions involving the potential of future licensing agreements, and also said that there's no information to disclose just yet related to damages. We asked if the outcome here could eventually impact other Apple products, but they seemed to suggest that items like the iPod and iPad would not be directly impacted. When asked if MMI was the enforcement wing of the three owners, we were told instead that "it's a subsidiary."
Apple's iPhones Found to Have Infringed MobileMedia Ideas Patents
CHEVY CHASE, Md. -- December 13, 2012
MobileMedia Ideas LLC announced that a jury in the United States District Court in Delaware today reached a unanimous verdict finding that three patents owned by MobileMedia Ideas – US 6,427,078 covering camera phones, US 6,070,068 covering call handling and US 6,253,075 covering call rejection – are valid and infringed by Apple's iPhones.
"MobileMedia Ideas is pleased that the jury confirmed Apple's iPhones use our patented technology," said MobileMedia Ideas President and CEO Larry Horn. "MobileMedia Ideas' objective is to make these important technologies and others used in mobile phone and other portable devices widely available. We welcome Apple and others to enter into licenses for the use of these technologies."
MobileMedia Ideas, a company owned by Tagivan (a subsidiary of MPEG LA), Nokia and Sony, has a portfolio of inventions widely used in smart phones, mobile phones and other portable devices including personal computers, laptops, netbooks, personal media players, e-book readers, cameras and hand-held game consoles. Its more than 300 patents cover a wide array of features such as call handling, speed dial, database searches, audio download and playback, and still picture and video processing. MobileMedia Ideas' objective is to make access to these important inventions available to everyone on reasonable terms. It presently has cases pending against RIM in the US District court for the Northern District of Texas and against HTC in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. For further information, please refer to www.mobilemediaideas.com.
Counsel for the plaintiffs was Proskauer Rose led by Steven M. Bauer from Proskauer's Boston office and Jack Blumenfeld of Morris, Nichols, Arsht and Tunnell in Wilmington, Delaware.