Apple loses $24m patent lawsuit to pager firm

Texas court rules that Apple must pay out for infringing six, decades-old patents held by pager and telco firm, MTel
Apple loses $24m patent lawsuit to pager firm
(Getty Images)
By Helen Gaskell
Thu 20 Nov 2014 03:22 PM

Apple has been fined over $20 million after a court in Texas found that the iPhone infringes patents granted in the 1990s.

According to The Guardian, the six patents in question were filed between 1992 and 1997, and all cover technology used in the SkyTel two-way pager network, run by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies (MTel).

MTel had claimed in court that Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as well as its Airport Wi-Fi routers, infringed the patents, particularly through the firm's iMessage feature and its email apps. Apple disagreed, saying the firm was trying to claim ownership of everything from emoji to calendar invitations.

Apple's lawyer, Brian Ferguson said that MTel was claiming $1 for every infringing devices sold, which would have totalled $237 million but were only awarded a tenth of this amount.

"A damage award of $237 million is not common sense. It's not logical," Ferguson said in court.

Among the patents in question is one from 1993 for a "nationwide communication system" using base transmitters and receivers to broadcast messages throughout a wireless network, and one from 1996 for a "method and device for processing undelivered data messages in a two-way wireless communications system".

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