The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Monday overturned [opinion, PDF] a Texas District Court decision [document, PDF] awarding Smartflash LLC a $533 million patent verdict against Apple [corporate websites]. Smartflash asserted that Apple had infringed on media management patents held by Smartflash through Apple’s creation of the iTunes software. The appeals court found Smartflash’s claims to be “invalid,” as the ideas patented were too “abstract,” and thus that there was no basis for a claim. Though the opinion has likely ended a years-long liability for Apple, its publishing as non-precedential will prevent it from being utilized in other cases.
One of the largest companies in the world worth $586 billion [Forbes report], Apple has drawn substantial litigation in recent years. In January the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed an antitrust suit [JURIST report] to proceed against Apple over the structure of its App Store. In December Apple served as the plaintiff when it sought [JURIST report] to have a $14 billion tax in the EU overturned. Also in December the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] against Apple in a prolonged patent infringement suit against primary smartphone rival Samsung.