How Apple lost $533 million to an 8th-grade dropout patent troll

How Apple lost $533 million to an 8th-grade dropout patent troll

Apple rarely comments on legal matters, and when it does it chooses its words carefully. So I read with interest the statement it issued after it was ordered to pay $532.9 million to Smartflash LLC for willful infringement of three U.S. patents. It’s a classic of the genre:

Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system. We rely on the patent system to protect real innovation and this case is one more example of why we feel so strongly Congress should enact meaningful patent reform.”

You don’t have to love the U.S. patent system or non-practicing entities (A.K.A. patent trolls) to wonder: How the hell did Apple lose this case?

It’s a question that took on new urgency when Smartflash turned around two days later and sued Apple again, this time for infringement of four new patents. Drawing on the same set of seven patents company has also sued Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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