Alcatel-Lucent v. Apple Patent Infringement Trial Begins

Apple in CourtA trial in which Alcatel-Lucent is suing Apple and South Korea-based LG Electronics for patent infringement began on Tuesday. Alcatel-Lucent is accusing both Apple and Samsung of violating a patent covering video compression, a charge that Apple has denied.

According to Bloomberg, Alcatel-Lucent tried to negotiate a patent license with Apple in 2005, and then with LG in 2009. Alcatel-Lucent has managed to earn more than $190 million in royalties on this patent, and it wants Apple and LG to cough up, too.

According to Bloomberg, Alcatel-Lucent attorney Frederick Long told the jury on Tuesday that, “Apple and LG have chosen not to license these patents while 33 other companies have paid over $190 million for these licenses."

He said that his company has been unable to secure a license from Apple or LG, "even though a company as prominent as Motorola is paying $18 million to license the patents. And Apple sells four times the number of infringing products that Motorola does.”

Apple and LG have both denied that they infringe on the Alcatel-Lucent patent, but according to Bloomberg they are also filed court documents arguing that the technology in question constitutes only a small part of products that are made up of many components.

Apple has been quick to pay some patent licenses and quick to deny infringement in other cases. The company has also been quick to accuse other companies of infringing its own intellectual property. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated on more than one occasion that Apple can't be the inventor for the world.

With the iPhone in particular, Apple is competing these days in markets where long established patent heavyweights including Motorola, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, and others have enormous patent portfolios that govern the way a wealth of products work.

Alcatel-Lucent's track record of exacting licensing agreements for this patent suggests the company has a good chance of winning its case, and it remains to be seen how successful Apple's defense that it doesn't infringe will be.