Apple to pay $308.5 million in DRM patent infringement case

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A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, has passed a judgement on Friday stating that Apple must pay $308.5 million to closely-held Personalized Media Communications (PMC) on the grounds of infringing a patent related to digital rights management (DRM).

PMC, a licensing firm, had sued Apple with claims that the latter infringed its patent with technology including FairPlay, which is used for the distribution of encrypted content from its App Store, iTunes, and Apple Music applications.

One expert for Sugar Land, Texas-based PMC had calculated Apple owed $240 million in royalties. After a five-day trial, the jurors in Texas, late on Friday, ordered Apple to pay a running royalty, which is generally based on the amount of sales of a product or service.

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Apple refused to comment initially to Reuters but said to Bloomberg that it was disappointed with the ruling and would appeal.

“Cases like this, brought by companies that don’t make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2015, but the Cupertino tech giant challenged the validity of the patent at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. In March last year, a U.S. appeals court reversed the board’s decision that certain patent claims were invalid and revived the case for trial.

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According to Bloomberg, “U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap last week also adopted a magistrate’s recommendation denying Apple’s request to find the patent invalid.”

Google and its YouTube service won another patent trial lodged by PMC in November over different patents and a case against Netflix is pending in New York.

The case is Personalized Media Communications LLC v. Apple Inc., 2:15-cv-1366, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

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