updated 08:07 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2012
License fee covered by industry-wide pool, judge rules
A lawsuit against Apple and LG over alleged infringement of video codec patents found both companies not guilty of infringing on IP held by Alcatel-Lucent, with the judge saying that both companies had properly licensed the patents. Alcatel-Lucent had been seeking over $172 million in damages from Apple's alleged infringement of three patents, and $9.1 million from LG over two other patents, all related to video codec usage. The case had been in litigation for almost two years, and a federal jury cleared both Apple and LG completely.
The jurors found that both companies were indeed covered by a "pay as you go" industry-wide licensing pool, and thus had already paid the Multimedia Patent Trust (Alcatel-Lucent's patent division) for the technology. Despite the existence of this licensing pool, Alcatel-Lucent have been shaking down companies for individual licenses for years, with at least 33 other tech firms having paid over $190 million to further license the patents and avoid litigation.
The trial began on November 27 in San Diego, beginning with a 2010 lawsuit that targeted multiple versions of Apple's iOS devices and MacBook line, along with a handful of LG smartphones. A spokeswoman for Apple said the company was "very pleased" with the verdict.