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US jury says iPhone infringes on three MobileMedia patents

iPhone 5 angle (800px)

A jury in a US court in Delaware has just ruled that Apple's iPhone infringes on three patents held by software patent holding company MobileMedia. According to its website, MobileMedia itself owns about 300 technology patents relating to the usage of smartphones and other mobile computing devices — many of which were originally granted to Sony and Nokia. According to Bloomberg, it first brought its lawsuit against Apple back in 2010, claiming the smartphone maker violated 14 of its patents, including those covering screen rotation, rejecting calls, and "transmitting GPS coordinates" as part of getting mapping directions. Eventually, the patents being ruled on were whittled down to three, Apple failed to have the case thrown out, and the lawsuit was able to proceed to a jury verdict.

"We're very pleased," MobileMedia Chief Executive Officer Larry Horn said in a courtroom interview following the trial's conclusion. "We think it's justified." There's no indication yet on what the damages assessed to Apple will be.

The three patents, each dating back to the 1990s, that the jury has ruled Apple infringed include:

  • US 6,070,068 (claims 23, 24) — covers displaying call options on a screen (e.g., hold, end call, activate, etc.) and controlling call options for multiple calls.
  • US 6,253,075 (claims 5, 6, 10) — covers a method of determining that an incoming call on a mobile phone should be rejected and then breaking off communication accordingly. One of the claims also covers notifying the user of the incoming call and allowing the user to expressly reject the call.
  • US 6,427,078 (claim 73) — covers a mobile phone with a camera, a display, a processor, a user input, optics for obtaining image information, and means for transmitting image information to another location via RF.

We reached out to Apple, who declined to comment on the story. We're waiting to hear back from MobileMedia and will update this post with any new information.

Matt Macari contributed to this report.

The Verge
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