The case was brought by MobileMedia, a holding company owned by Sony, MPEG-LA and Nokia that controls those companies' patents. MobileMedia is charged with enforcing about 300 patents, but because it doesn't make any products, it can't be countersued. Neat, huh?
Lest you think that tactic is a bit dodgy, it should be noted that Apple has its own patent holding company: the Rockstar Consortium. Rockstar was created after Apple joined with Microsoft and Rimm, among others, to acquire 4,000 patents from Nortel.
In this latest turn of the patent litigation screw, Apple lost after a weeklong trial in a Wilmington, Del., federal court. According to Bloomberg, the case originally involved 14 patents, but was cut to three before going to trial. Those three patents are related to the iPhone's camera, and the way it accepts and rejects phone calls.
There will be a separate trial to determine damages.
“We’re very pleased,” MobileMedia Chief Executive Larry Horn told Bloomberg in a post-trial courtroom interview. “We think it’s justified.”
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in an email that the company had no comment.
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