A San Diego jury ruled this week that Apple must pay Quarter Hill Inc.’s Wi-LAN a cool $85 million in a patent infringement case that’s been ping-ponging around the courts since 2014, Bloomberg reports.
Wi-LAN, a Canadian tech developer, has been lobbing similar lawsuits at the biggest names in tech for the better part of a decade now (to varying degrees of success) over its patents for Bluetooth and other wireless communication technology. The company’s suit against Apple hinged on two of its patents concerning downloading data while simultaneously making phone calls, Bloomberg reported.
Another jury in 2018 previously ruled that Apple owed Wi-LAN even more, a total of $145 million in royalties based on iPhone sales, per Reuters. However, after Apple later disputed Wi-LAN’s method of calculating this rate and asked the courts to reconsider the damages, a U.S. district judge of southern California sided with Apple’s contentions and gave Wi-LAN an ultimatum: Accept a flat rate of $10 million in royalties or go through the entire trial process again. The company understandably chose the latter.
And while $85 million in royalties may still be considered a pretty hefty chunk of change for most us out there, it’s pennies in at the scale of what Apple brings in; in the last quarter of 2019 alone the company net about $64 billion in revenue. That likely still won’t stop Apple from appealing this ruling, though. Because capitalism.