updated 01:43 am EST, Wed November 28, 2012
Apple and LG claim Alcatel-Lucent already paid, suit is a 'double-dip'
Yet another patent battle involving Apple began today in a California court. Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Patent Trust has accused co-defendants Apple and LG Electronics in 2010 of violating its patents involving video compression technology. The suit involves techniques used in the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression technologies that have been passed to the Alcatel-Lucent patent holding company over the years, and are being asserted against Apple's entire product line.
"Apple and LG have chosen not to license these patents while 33 other companies have paid over $190 million for these licenses," Frederick Lorig, an attorney for the patent trust, told the jury. He said the trust was unable to negotiate a license with Apple "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."
Both LG and Apple claim that the patent trust has been paid out of an industry-wide pool of funds set aside for video compression licensing, and that the technologies asserted in the patent are out of date. Attorneys for the pair claimed that the trust is trying to widen the scope of the intellectual property to include new advances in the field.
"LG and Apple are not going to pay rent for technology they do not use," said Apple attorney Juanita Brooks. "Why are we here in this trial? They are trying to get $170 million from Apple. I can think of 170 million reasons [why] they are asking us to pay more than all of the other licensees combined." Michael McKeon, LG Electronics attorney argued that "what we have here is MPT trying to double dip. It is suing over technology it does not own."
Alcatel-Lucent has not gone on record with any specific damage requests. A financial expert's findings that claimed that Apple should be paying $196 million and LG $9 million was rebuffed by the judge, who said that the figures should be adjusted based on improper economic assumptions.
The jury trial continues on Tuesday. The judge indicated to jurors that the trial should take less than two weeks to conclude.