A Texas court has thrown out a jury decision apparently because the jury failed to listen to the judge when it came setting damages.
The jury sat through the trial against Apple and decided that it had stolen SmartFlash technology and should pay $533 million.
US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who oversaw the case against Apple, has ruled that the damages verdict must be thrown out because of a faulty instruction to the jury. He has ordered a new trial to be held solely on the matter of damages.
Gilstrap said the jury was instructed about the “entire market value rule” of patent damages, even though SmartFlash didn’t apply that model in its case.
“The confusion created by the instruction noted above warrants a new trial on damages in this case,” Gilstrap wrote in the order, published yesterday. “The Court is persuaded, in the clarity of post-trial hindsight, that such instruction may have created a skewed damages horizon for the jury.”
Gilstrap was not a big fan of the consumer survey SmartFlash used in its damage model but wrote, “At this time, the Court does not comment on the sufficiency of Smartflash’s survey questions.”
He ruled that Apple’s infringement was not wilful, despite the jury’s finding otherwise. Apple Senior Director Augustin Farrugia, admitted meeting with the SmartFlash inventor back in 2000 before he worked at Apple.
However Gilstrap did not find anything in his testimony which even approximates the clear and convincing evidence necessary to establish wilfulness.
The Tame Apple Press has implied that Smartflash is a patent troll and its products had never took off. A British bloke Patrick Racz, tried to push his product out as an early digital media player, but it never took off.
By 2002, the business was gone except for its patents. Racz used three patents related to downloading digital content, numbers 7,334,720, 8,118,221, and 8,336,772, to sue Apple, Google, Amazon, and Samsung.
His lawyer Brad Caldwell said that Racz was an inventor who came up with the idea, disclosed it to the public in a patent application to advance the state of the art, and spent 15 years staying involved as the main figure who always believed in his idea.
But Apple, which has publically admitted stealing other people’s ideas, and has convictions for anti-trust activities, said you should trust it instead. Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, and has no US presence, it pointed out.
Smartflash has filed a second lawsuit against Apple, asserting its digital download patents against newer products including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2. God bless democracy. And Greece.