Tech giant persuades US Judge to void N106 billion lawsuit

Apple argued that the damages were too high because jurors might have improperly considered the entire market value of the products.

Smartflash accused Apple in a May 2013 lawsuit of infringing patents for accessing and storing songs, videos and games.

According to sources, a federal judge has thrown out a $532.9 million award against Apple Inc and ordered a new trial on damages, in a case where a jury found that the iPhone maker's iTunes software infringed three patents owned by a Texas company.

Various reports state that in a decision on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge RodneyGilstrap in Tyler, Texas, said jurors who on February 24 awarded the damages to Smartflash LLC because of Apple's willful infringement might have been confused by his instructions on how to properly calculate royalties.

Apple argued that the damages were too high because jurors might have improperly considered the entire market value of the products, rather than distinguishing between patented and unpatented features.

Gilstrap stated his jury instructions were legally correct but not applicable to the facts of the case, and "may have created a skewed damages horizon for the jury."

He set a new trial date only on the issue of damages for September 14 in Tyler, where Smartflash is based.

Bradley Caldwell, a lawyer for Smartflash, didn't immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.

Smartflash accused Apple in a May 2013 lawsuit of infringing patents for accessing and storing songs, videos and games, enabling the California-based company to sell more of its iPhone, iPad and iPodTouch products.

The lawsuit said Patrick Racz, a co-inventor of Smartflash's patents, had discussed some of his ideas in 2000 with officials of a European company, which included Augustin Farrugia, who later became a senior director at Apple.

In the lawsuit, Smartflash originally sought damages of $852 million.

The trial took place in the federal court for the Eastern District of Texas, one of the favorite destinations for lawyers representing patent holders because of its reputation for high damages awards.

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