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Apple on hook for $308.5M in DRM patent suit

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A federal jury in Texas on Friday decided Apple owes $308.5 million in royalties to Personalized Media Communications for infringing a digital rights management patent.

Following deliberations, a jury in the patent holder-friendly Marshall, Texas, district found Apple technology, including FairPlay, in infringement of a patent held by non-practicing entity Personalized Media, reports Bloomberg. FairPlay is used to distribute encrypted content on iTunes, the App Store and Apple Music.

Personalized Media first sued Apple in 2015, but the case took years to make its way to trial. Apple successfully challenged the patent-in-suit with an appeal to the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which subsequently invalidated certain claims of the IP. That ruling was ultimately reversed by an appeals court in 2020, sending the case to trial.

According to the report, an expert called by Personalized Media calculated Apple's owed royalties to be $240 million, but jurors decided to apply a running royalty rate that

ran the figure up to $308.5 million. Running royalties are typically calculated with a basis in unit sales or service engagement.

Apple in a statement said it was disappointed in the ruling and intends to appeal.

"Cases like this, brought by companies that don't make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers," the company said.