Apple Settles Minverva Patent Lawsuit

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The patent in question describes “a mobile entertainment and communication device in a palm-held size, housing has a cellular or satellite telephone capable of wireless communication with the Internet and one or more replaceable memory card sockets for… recording data directly from the Internet and, in particular, musical performances that then can be selectively reproduced by the device for the enjoyment of the user.”

The two companies settled out of court, according to Law360, and Judge Charles Everingham dismissed the case after receiving notification of the settlement. The case had been filed in U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Texas — a court favored by patent holding companies for its historically sympathetic rulings.

Minerva has also settled lawsuits with the likes of RIM, HP, Verizon, Motorola, Nokia, Qwest, and more. The company initially filed its lawsuit against Apple only hours after it was granted the patent.

Apple and Minerva Industries agreed to pay their own legal fees and to dismiss all claims and counter claims as part of the settlement.

[Thanks to TechCrunch for the heads up]

Comments

Lee Dronick

“Apple and Minerva Industries agreed to pay their own legal fees and to dismiss all claims and counter claims as part of the settlement”

Does this mean no harm no foul on Apple’s part?

Nemo

Sir Harry:  Where did you get that information?  Settlements are almost always done with confidentiality agreements, the breach of which carries serious consequences for the breacher.

Lee Dronick

uly 30th, 2010 at 12:25 PM:
Sir Harry:? Where did you get that information??

I didn’t get any information, I was asking for it.

From the article; both sides agreed to pay their own legal fees and dismiss all claims and counterclaims. So I was asking does that mean that Apple didn’t violate Minerva’s patent?

Nemo

Sir Harry:  Well, if true, it is an indication that Minverva didn’t get much in the settlement.  Legal fees are expensive, especially where, as here, the parties litigated the suit for two years, but the Patent Act does not immediately award attorney’s fees.  35 U.S.C. ? 285.  Still, a party negotiating a winning hand, by which I mean that it is clear that it will most likely prevail at trial, would normally be able to get its legal fees or at least some of them.  However, without more, it is impossible to say for certain.

terrin

We will never know for certain, but usually settlements involve the alleged injuring party to not admit liability. I suspect Apple got a decent settlement. Otherwise, it would have paid the other side’s attorney fees.

Yet, nowadays companies like Apple don’t want to advertise how much any settlement was because it encourages other suits. So, Apple could have paid the other side a significant amount, which would have also covered any attorney fees. Saying attorney fees weren’t covered gives the impression rightly or wrongly that the settlement wasn’t for a lot.

?Apple and Minerva Industries agreed to pay their own legal fees and to dismiss all claims and counter claims as part of the settlement?

Does this mean no harm no foul on Apple?s part?

Nemo

But Minverva might also have had a reason to take a low settlement.  If Apple discovered a weakness in its patent, either a strong defense or facts that would have resulted in invalidation of the patent, then Minverva would have settled and negotiated a confidentiality agreement, so that it could continued to collect royalties from it licensees.  There is just no way to tell what’s going on from what is publicly known.

Voice

Read the first paragraph of this article.  Does the iPhone have “one or more replaceable memory card sockets”?  If that’s an accurate quote from the patent in question, I don’t see how the iPhone could possibly violate the patent’s claims.

So, based on that particular quote, I think it actually sounds like Apple won out on the issue with Minverva.  Settling prevents having to duke it out in court, and both sides paying their own expenses in a settlement is fairly common.

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