back to article Apple ordered to pay $8m over playlist patents

A federal jury has ordered Apple to pay a patent-holding firm $8m for violating two patents, after a protracted battle in the Eastern District of Texas, a jurisdiction notorious for handing down decisions friendly to patent holders. Eight million dollars, however, is substantially less than first claimed by Personal Audio LLC …


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  1. ratfox


    That is beer money, now, that is!

    Can the patent holders appeal a ruling for their side?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      They can only appeal if the trial judge may an error in law, for example in his jury instructions. They cannot appeal the jury award.

      Case closed ... next!

  2. JaitcH

    For Apple $8,000,000 is ...

    pocket change.

    Apple's, and Jobs', loss of 'face' is priceless!

  3. Anonymous Coward


    You mean someone has actually patented 'maintaining a list of songs you like'?

    Could someone tell these guys that ANON owns the patent for "intake and exhalation of gasses to facilitate oxygen transfer into bloodstream" and that we don't want any money, we just want them to cease-and-desist?

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      No, someone patented a loosely worded idea that could, in hindsight, be applied to "maintaining a list of songs you like".

      Can we please change the patent system to invalidate patents that don't have (partially) working implementations intended to be commercialised within X years?

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Exactly right

        If you patent an idea then don't make a product with it then how can you say someone else copied your idea when they can never have seen your product or your idea?

        How can you claim the success of your product has been damaged if you don't have one?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Exactly right

          "If you patent an idea then don't make a product with it then how can you say someone else copied your idea when they can never have seen your product or your idea?"

          Because you patented it?

    2. Danny 5

      you took the words right out of my mouth

      i think one of the biggest issues in innovation are companies like this. they don't manufacture anything themselves, they just leech of others who have good ideas. I understand patents can be a necessity, but companies like this are nonsense.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Down


      Yeah, I agree..

      While on the one hand, I'm happy that Apple is getting ruled against here, this is no more than a farce. Firstly, 8 million as few have said here is nothing but chump change to a company like Apple, and frankly looks laughable.

      More worrisome however is the fact that such a patent suit could come about in the first place...

      PLAYLIST? WTF come on...

      The plaintiff here clearly is as bad or worse scum than Apple.

      Hmm... Worse I would say, and that's saying a lot.

      In addition, if that's how the Americans want to play lets just let them play that way in America and not the rest of the world.

  4. Anteaus

    Hand it over...

    Sorry, but I hold the patent on using a patent to extort cash from someone.

    So, hand over that 8m. I need some beer money.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    were the jurors educated much?

    that handwriting looked like it was written by someone just learning how to write numerals upto 8.

    is that why the amount is so low?

    do the honorable plaintiffs have grounds to appeal based on the limited counting ability of the jury?

    the legal system is a joke

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Intelligence should be tested by ones ability to manipulate mechanical devices.

      Sod the people who use use knowledge and reason, they're just skiving.

    2. NogginTheNog


      I don't know about you, but I've found that because something like 99% of my written communication is typed nowadays, if I do have to handwrite any reasonable amount of text my handwriting is an awful scrawl - and my hand aches! :-(

  6. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    I'm torn...

    On the one hand I want to moan about how pathetic this IP defence/patent business is, then on the other this is Apple getting a taste of the legal medicine it has no problem forcing down other people's throats when it suits them.

    1. Sean Baggaley 1

      IP laws REQUIRE you defend your patents. It's not optional.

      Apple have no choice but to defend what their legal department perceives to be a breach of a patent it owns.

      It's not Apple's fault that the US invented the idiotic notion of software patents; nor is it Apple's fault that the USPTO is so willing to accept patent submissions on face value, with no apparent investigation into its actual validity.

      This is particularly true of software patents: a concept so moronic, it had to have been invented by the kind of programmer who still believes programming is a branch of maths or engineering, as opposed to what it *actually* is: mere translation. Hence we see all sorts of ridiculous "patents" being awarded, including the one covered by the article.

      Apple are fighting fire with fire, as are many other corporations. They all have lawyers to feed, so they're not in a position to stop the madness. That's up to the people of the USA—the same people who let this stupid system happen in the first place.

  7. A J Stiles


    These patents should never have been granted in the first place, as what they describe would be obvious to an expert in the field, and I hope Apple don't intend to pay up.

  8. Juillen 1

    The biggies

    Don't mind playing this game. They have war chests to cover the temporary losses, and they'll only recoup that by suing another big company for lots of money for an infringement of 'their' patent.

    While this leaks money to the lawyers, it keeps the merry-go-round of IP law going, with a reasonably predictable 'small' quantity of leakage (legal costs).

    It does mean that the small companies can be smacked hard with these same costs, which is enough to put them out of business just trying to defend themselves, and it's these same small businesses that could have the "next big idea" that could overturn the biggies in a year. Far better for them to have reasonably predictable outgoing than lose the company when someone comes up with the better idea. If they can cause the new company to fail, they can buy the better idea for peanuts.

  9. sisk


    Here we have one of those increasingly rare moments when I think Apple's in the right. Seriously, there ought to be a law against enforcing patents with which you have never and are not currently doing anything.

  10. T J

    Yup, this is insane

    Pretty much what everybody above said. These utterly ridiculous patent cases are also casting a shadow over themselves: They will all be retrospectively undone, because there is now no way that they cannot be.

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