Jury Awards $300M to Optis Wireless in Apple LTE Patent Retrial

A jury verdict rendered last Friday requires Apple Inc. to pay Optis Wireless Technology LLC and four affiliated companies a $300 million judgment, a substantial decrease from the $506 million awarded the first time the case was presented to a jury. The unanimous verdict follows a three-day trial and delivers Optis the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) royalty amount as a lump sum.

The 2019 case concerns Optis’ allegations that Apple infringed patents essential to various standards for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, including LTE. Optis asserted that despite good faith negotiation efforts to license its patents to Apple on FRAND terms as required by relevant law, Apple felt that Optis violated its legal obligations and, in turn, acted in bad faith and held out, rejecting Optis’s offer to grant FRAND term licenses.

After last year’s trial, reportedly the very first in-person patent jury trial held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marshall, Texas-based court partly granted Apple’s request for a new one. Judge Rodney Gilstrap’s April 2021 decision weighed whether the jury should have heard evidence that the damages figure needed to be aligned with FRAND obligations. 

In granting retrial on the issue of damages, the court decided that though the $506 million verdict figure may have been consistent with FRAND terms, that was not necessarily the case. Last week’s verdict, per the verdict form, contemplates those terms.

Optis is represented by Irell & Manella LLP, McKool Smith P.C., and Gray Reed & McGraw LLP, and Apple by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and Gillam & Smith LLP.