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Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 04:57 am PT (07:57 am ET)

Apple and LG accused of infringing Alcatel-Lucent patents in U.S. trial

A California court trial involving patent infringement allegations against co-defendants Apple and LG Electronics began on Tuesday, with Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust asserting the two electronics makers violated video compression technology used in a number of devices.

Alcatel-Lucent Logo


The jury trial, being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern Distrcit of California, is directly related to a 2010 complaint filed by the Paris-based technology company's Multimedia Patent Trust in which both Apple and LG were accused of copying efficient data transmission tech pertaining to videos, reports Bloomberg.

“Apple and LG have chosen not to license these patents while 33 other companies have paid over $190 million for these licenses,” said one of the patent trust's attorneys, Frederick Lorig. Counsel went on to explain that he failed to successfully negotiate a deal with Apple despite having already set licensing terms with Motorola worth some $18 million. "Apple sells four times the number of infringing products that Motorola does,” he said.

According to the suit, Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod and MacBook lines, as well as LG's Chocolate Touch VX8575, Bliss UX700, Touch AX8575, Lotus Elite LX610, Mystique UN610 and Samba LG8575, infringe on the trust's patents.

“The motion pictures you see on your screens are made possible by these patents,” Lorig said. “This technology lets you download in half the time and store twice as much content.”

Representatives for Apple and LG countered during their opening statements, saying that MPT had already been paid for the technology in the for of an "pay-as-you-go" pool of funds. The attorneys said the trust is attempting to extend its patent claims to cover new technology.

“LG and Apple are not going to pay rent for technology they do not use,” said Apple attorney Juanita Brooks. “Why are we here in this trial? They are trying to get $170 million from Apple. I can think of 170 million reasons they are asking us to pay more than all of the other licensees combined.”

LG's counsel, Michael McKeon, added, "What we have here is MPT trying to double dip. It is suing over technology it does not own.”

Apple is accused of infringing upon three Alcatel-Lucent patents compared to LG's two, with MPT asking for a "reasonable royalty" based on fees it would have been paid prior to the alleged infringement.

MPT is looking for undisclosed damages with the possibility of trebling, or tripling, the judgment amount if Apple and LG are found to have infringed willfully, as well as court fees.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow at 9 a.m. and is expected to conclude within the next two weeks.