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Apple gets retrial over 'tainted' $506 million PanOptis defeat

The court determined that Apple infringed PanOptis's 4G LTE patents

A federal judge says there is "serious doubt" about the verdict that saw PanOptis awarded $506 million against Apple, and is allowing a retrial over iPhone 4G LTE patent infringements.

Apple has previously said its $506 million loss to PanOptis over a patent dispute was "tainted" because of how the jury had been instructed. It asked for a broad retrial, and now US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has allowed one limited to the issue of damages.

According to Law360, Judge Gilstrap said that in the jury trial, both Apple and PanOptis had previously decided to reserve a key issue for a later bench trial. Specifically, the case turned on FRAND, the idea that standard essential patents (SEP) must be licensed on terms that are Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory.

Gilstrap says that the jury were not told what the FRAND terms would be and that therefore this "casts serious doubt on the reliability of the verdict." Consequently, while not agreeing to a retrial over whether Apple had infringed on the patents, he did agree to one concerning the amount of damages owed.

"The court now finds itself left with a very large damages award made as to SEPs where the jury never heard the acronym FRAND or heard evidence about how that concept impacted a fair damages award in this case," said Judge Gilstrap. "In the court's view, this requires a new trial on damages."

Following its original victory in the patent case, PanOptis has separately applied to have the damages supplemented with an extra royalty on every infringing Apple device.

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