It looks like the fruity cargo cult Apple is not doing that well when it comes to its innovation standing the test of a patent court.
According to Bloomberg, a US court has decided that Jobs’ Mob did not invent the playlist and has told Steve Jobs to write a cheque for more than $8 million to the real inventor.
Unfortunately Apple was arguing this in the Eastern district of Texas which is a haven for those of a slightly trollish bent, as its juries tend to rule in favour of the patent holder.
Personal Audio is Texas-based and happens to make its cash from licensing its intellectual property to companies like Apple.
This one has been going since 2009, when the firm filed suit against Apple, Sirius XM Radio, Archos, and Coby Electronics for violating two of its patents.
The patents generally cover downloadable playlists on a device, allowing the user to skip around using the device’s controls.
There is some confusion because the patent appears to have been awarded in 2006 and Apple’s original iPod first made its public debut in the fall of 2001, and the playlists were “downloaded” from a user’s computer.
Nevertheless Personal Audio’s original complaint claimed that Apple has been violating the patents ever since, with the introduction of every new iPod or iPhone, and the patent firm originally wanted $84 million.
In mid-2010, Sirius XM Radio, Archos, and Coby Electronics settled and it looked the right thing to do.
There were some things that Jobs’ Mob did that did not amuse the Judge. Three weeks before the decision, Apple slapped more than 6,300 pages of documentation showing that it had developed the iPod’s playlist system on its own.
The Judge was furious by the late filing and walloped Apple with a $10,000 fine. It is probably just as well Apple did that because the documentation may have provided the court with mitagating circumstances.
It was these that brought the infringement penalties down to a tenth of what Personal Audio asked.
So far there has been no word if Apple is going to appeal the case.