Apple Ordered to Pay $399 Million for Patent Infringement of Technology Used in iTunes and App Store

Apple Ordered to Pay $399 Million for Patent Infringement of Technology Used in iTunes and App Store
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP, Getty Images

A years-old fight over the technology Apple uses in iTunes, App Store, and Apple Music has a new development. On Friday, a federal jury in Texas declared that Apple had indeed infringed a patent for a digital rights management technology held by Personalised Media Communications. As a result, it ordered the tech giant to fork over roughly $US308.5 ($399) million.

According to Bloomberg, Personalised Media Communications sued Apple for infringing its patent on FairPlay, a digital rights management technology that is used to distribute encrypted content from Apple’s iTunes, App Store and Apple Music services, among other patents, among other patents.

As explained by Personalised Media Communications, a file that is encrypted with FairPlay, such as a piece of media content or software app, is digitally encrypted and can only be decrypted by an authorised user device based on user-specific or device-specific decryption information.

The lawsuit dates back to 2015 and has been through many twists and turns. Although Apple successfully challenged the case at the U.S. patent office, Reuters reported, an appeals court later reversed that decision. And just last week, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap denied Apple’s request to declare Personalised Media Communication’s patent invalid.

The jury trial and verdict are the latest developments but won’t be the last.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Apple said it was disappointed with the ruling and would appeal it.

“Cases like this, brought by companies that don’t make or sell any products, stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers,” Apple told Bloomberg.

An expert for Personalised Media Communications had set a $US240 ($310) million price tag for what Apple owed the company in royalties for using its technology. However, the jury ordered Apple to pay a running royalty, which is the price determined by the sales of licensed products or processes.

Gizmodo reached out to Apple to ask for comment on the case on Sunday but did not hear back. We’ll make sure to update this blog if we do.

Per Bloomberg, Apple isn’t the only company fighting with Personalised Media Communications over patents. The outlet states that YouTube won a patent trial against Personalised Media Communications last year over different patents. Meanwhile, the company has also sued Netflix.