There were two patents at issue: no. RE37,802 that covers CDMA and HSPA data transmission, and no. 5,282,222 for a method for allowing a number of wireless transceivers to exchange information (data, voice or video) with each other.
Wi-Lan Inc wanted Apple to pay out $248 million from the sales of 122 million iPhones.
Apple’s position was that it used chips made by Qualcomm Inc., and did not use the Wi-Lan patented technology. Apple’s patent attorney Mark Scarsi of Millbank Tweed in Los Angeles told the jury in closing argument that
“They are claiming the entire value of the iPhone, including the charger — that’s why they are suing Apple and not Qualcomm”
Patent trial attorney Sam Baxter of McKool Smith, represented Wi-Lan, he argued to the jury that
“The competitors were going to eat their lunch,” Baxter said. “They had to take a license. Think about the 122 million phones they would not be able to sell without a license.”
Win-Lan sued several companies, Apple, Dell, HP, HTC, Kyocera, Novatel, Alcatel-Lucent and Sierra Wireless. Every other party settled out of the suit. Apple fought the patent troll and won.
Sometimes the battle cost more than the war. Certainly the amount of attorney’s fees to get to the end of the war along with the risk of losing was the reason all the other parties elected to settle.
However when you are a big target like Apple and you want to make a point and you have the money to back it up, you can do some damage to the opposition.
In this case not only did Apple not have to pay for damages to Wi- Lan, two of the claims in the patent were invalidated. Because the claims were invalidated the possibility of suing others under those claims has now been eliminated.
Patent trolls will now have to think twice about suing Apple in the future. But the lure of the possible big hit will always entice some patent troll to start a lawsuit.