Apple defeats GPNE's $94M patent-infringement claim

A San Jose jury rules against the nonpracticing entity, which had accused Apple of infringing its mobile device technology.

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Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read

GPNE's suit included the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad Mini. CNET

Apple on Wednesday defeated GPNE in a patent-infringement trial, with a jury determining the electronics giant's devices didn't infringe mobile technology owned by the nonpracticing entity.

Apple, which called GPNE a patent troll, said in a statement that it was "pleased" by the verdict.

It also urged congressional leaders to work on patent reforms to prevent lawsuits by companies that don't actually make anything or use the patents they own. Such companies, typically called patent trolls, buy patents and then make money by suing companies around the globe. GPNE has threatened suits against hundreds of companies, including small businesses.

GPNE sued Apple in 2011 over two patents related to technology for communicating across cellular networks. GPNE earlier this month told a jury that Apple should pay it $94 million for selling iPhones and iPads that infringe its patents. The company's suit included the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad Mini.

Apple countered by saying that the technology covered pagers, which it doesn't sell. A San Jose, Calif., jury ultimately sided with Apple.

Apple argued during the trial against GPNE that the patents covered pagers, not smartphones and tablets. Apple

GPNE CEO Edwin Wong referred CNET to his company's attorneys. Kalpana Srinivasan, a partner with law firm Susman Godfrey LLP, said in a statement that "it was a hard-fought trial with a tough claim construction in a case in which our firm was hired a few months ago. We strongly believe the judge will address the underlying legal issues in post-verdict motions."

Here's Apple's full statement:

"We are pleased the jury in California saw through GPNE's attempt to extort money from Apple for 20 year old pager patents that have expired, wasting time for everyone involved. GPNE is a patent troll with no active business other than patent litigation. They have sent more than 300 demand letters in the past year to everyone from truckers and farmers to roofers and dairies threatening costly legal entanglements if these small businesses didn't pay them off -- this isn't right. Apple invents products that revolutionize industries, and relies upon the U.S. patent system to protect our innovation. We urge congressional leaders to continue focusing on reform in this important area of patent law."

Update, 1:35 p.m. PT: With additional background information. Update, 2:55 p.m. PT: With comment from GPNE.