Apple Ordered to Pay $309 Million for Infringing DRM Patent

A federal jury in Texas has ordered Apple to pay around $308.5 million to a local licensing firm for infringing a patent related to digital rights management, reports Bloomberg.



Following a five-day trial, jurors on Friday said Apple must pay running loyalty fees to Texas-based
Personalized Media Communications (PMC). A running loyalty is generally based on the amount of sales of a product or service.

PMC originally sued Apple in 2015 for allegedly infringing seven of its patents. As part of the legal action, the company claimed Apple infringed its patent with technology including FairPlay, which is used to distribute encrypted content through the company’s iTunes, App Store, and Apple Music apps.

Apple successfully challenged PMC’s case at the U.S. patent office, but an appeals court reversed that decision in March 2020, opening an avenue for a trial to proceed.

Apple told Bloomberg it was disappointed with Friday’s ruling and would appeal the decision.

“Cases like this, brought by companies that don’t make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers,” the company said in an emailed statement.

PMC is a non-practicing entity that holds a patent portfolio and generates revenue through patent litigation. When such companies employ hardball legal tactics to enforce patent rights far beyond the patent’s actual value, they are often referred to as patent trolls.

The Sugarland-based company has infringement cases pending against several other tech companies including Netflix, Google, and Amazon.