Another long-term Apple legal battle with a patent holding company has concluded its latest step, with a jury ruling that Apple has violated ring-silencing patents, granting a $3 million damages award to proxy company MobileMedia Ideas.
MobileMedia filed suit originally in 2010 over 14 patents, with a trial in 2012 finding that Apple infringed upon three of MobileMedia's patents. After a long back-and-forth following the initial judgement, Wednesday's $3 million award is dramatically cut from the $18 million demand that MobileMedia was seeking.
The six-year battle and subsequent award ultimately focused on MobileMedia-owned patent RE39,231. The patent, originally owned by Sony and issued in 1999, spans operations mandating that "unnecessary noises" as a result of incoming messages or calls be silenced during certain user actions or as a result of user operations with the phone.
Patent holding company MobileMedia is owned by video codec licensing group MPEG-LA, with partial ownership stakes held by Sony and Nokia.
MobileMedia Ideas holds more than 300 patents generally related to a wide variety of consumer electronics features. The company announced in 2010 it would license patents related to "smartphones, mobile phones, and other portable devices including personal computers, laptops, notebooks, personal media players, e-book readers, cameras, and hand-held game consoles."
Neither MobileMedia nor Apple have any comment on the ruling. Apple is expected to appeal the verdict.