As detailed in Seven reasons to love being Tim Cook right now, you’d be forgiven for thinking Apple could do no wrong. Seemingly everything the world’s most valuable company touches turns into a massive pile of cash.
But wait! Here comes a massive half-billion fine for iTunes patent infringement, a fine Apple will of course appeal.
Suddenly the name Smartflash is on everyone’s lips, as the company successfully complained that Apple’s iTunes software infringes on three individual patents.
Smartflash had been looking for $852 million, while Apple valued the patents at just $4.5 million. The former will make do with a cool $500 million, which is roughly how much Tim Cook carries in his back pocket.
According to Smartflash, Apple refused to fork over cash for patents relating to accessing and storing downloaded songs, games and videos, despite being briefed on the tech over 10 years ago.
Apple insisted that the patents were too basic, and furthermore suggested they were in fact invalid – the technology having been patented before, but the pleas fell on deaf ears, and ultimately the jury sided with little-known Smartflash.
"Smartflash is very happy with the jury's verdict,” beamed Smartflash lawyer Brad Caldwell. “[It] recognises Apple's longstanding wilful infringement."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Apple yelled: “Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US 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."