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Apple Loses Playlist Patent Suit, Must Pay $8M

A federal judge has ordered Apple to pay a huge fine for infringement of two patents of Personal Audio, related to the creation and use of iPod playlist.

Personal Audio sued Apple for patent infringement in 2009 asking for compensation of $84M. The two patents were the “U.S. patents 6,199,076: Audio Player Program Including a Dynamic Controller Selection Program” and “7,509,178: Audio Program Distribution and Playback System”.

The California company has always denied the violation.

Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents noted that Apple has “little incentive to appeal against this decision,” as the $8 million damages award is relatively insubstantial for the company, which has more than $60 billion in cash reserves.

However, Apple could announce an intent to file an appeal in hopes of negotiating a discounted settlement with the company.

Mueller also compared the case to an ongoing case between iOS developers and Lodsys. The company filed suit in May, alleging that iOS developers have violated patents related to in-app purchasing.

Like Personal Audio, Lodsys is a non-practicing entity that generates income from patent licenses. Both companies also chose to file their cases in East Texas, a district known for favoring so-called “patent trolls.”

Fun fact: In recent years, Apple has become the most sued company for patent infringement.

Photo Courtesy of kurafire
Photo Courtesy of renaissancechambara