Apple’s patent infringement not willful, judge declines to triple $532M jury verdict

By David Yates | Jul 6, 2015

In February, A Texas jury found Apple willfully infringed on three patents owned by a Tyler company, levying a $532,900,000 verdict against the tech giant – a finding the plaintiff claims entitles it to treble damages.

However, on July 2 U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap found that no jury could reasonably conclude Apple’s infringement was willful, declining to triple the award to nearly $1.6 billion.

Smartflash filed suit against Apple on May 29, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas, Tyler Division.

On Feb. 24, a Texas jury found Apple had willfully infringed on three of the Tyler company’s patents for media storage.

The following day, Smartflash filed a second complaint for patent infringement, alleging violations of the same patents the jury found Apple had infringed.

Although the litigation has spilled over into multiple courts, including a federal appeals court, Apple has won at least battle, with Judge Gilstrap finding Smartflash failed to prove Apple’s infringement was willful.

In its original complaint, Smartflash accused Apple of infringing on several patents for data storage and managing access to the data via payment information, including:

– U.S. Patent No. 7,334,720 issued Feb. 26, 2008;

– U.S. Patent No. 7,942,317 issued May 17, 2011;

– U.S. Patent No. 8,033,458 issued Oct. 11, 2011;

– U.S. Patent No. 8,061,598 issued Nov. 22, 2011;

– U.S. Patent No. 8,118,221 issued Feb. 21, 2012; and

– U.S. Patent No. 8,336,772 issued Dec. 25, 2012.

At trial, the jury found Apple’s infringement of the ‘720, ‘221 and ‘772 patents was willful and that the defendant failed to prove the patents were invalid.

Apple is represented in part by the Ropes & Gray law firm

Smartflash is represented by Bradley W. Caldwell, Jason D. Cassady, John Austin Curry, Daniel R. Pearson and Hamad M. Hamad of Caldwell Cassady Curry P.C. in Dallas; and T. John Ward and T. John Ward Jr. of Ward & Smith Law Firm in Longview.

Case No. 6:15-cv-00447

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