Apple probably no longer a strange name to everyone. This is one of the biggest tech company, who influenced many tech products such as smart phones, computers, tablets, … Recently, Apple has signal it “potential move” of leaving the UK market behind. This happened when Apple was required to pay more than 5 billion Euros for using patents. What ridiculous is that this all is just “Patent Troll”.
This 5 billion Euros (approximately 7 billion USD) was requested by Optis Cellular Technology. All the patents in the company’s claim are “standardized” smartphone techs. Due to Apple’s usage without permission, this is considered patent infringement, which means Optis is allowed to demand the money for their patents.
And of course, Apple did not take this lightly, they refused the request. After that, Optis has filed a lawsuit. In fact, as the High Court Ruling, Apple has already been alleged for infringing 2 Optis patent in the field of 3G and 4G. Optis also claims that there are many patents belonged to Optis that Apple has utilized without permission in the past.
“Patent troll” Optis
Optis Cellular Technology and many related brothers and sisters such as PanOptis, Optis Wireless Technology, Unwired Planet, Unwired Planet International are known as “Patent Troll”. These company simply “make profit” from their patents by threatening to file a lawsuit instead of actually use them. Patent Troll often is less a problem in the EU than in the U.S due to the “loser pays costs regime.
Actually, this is not the first time that Apple was “introduced” the Optis family. Last year, Apple loses 506 million USD to PanOptis in the Court of Texas due to 4G LTE patent infringement.
What is the lost should Apple leave the UK?
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the market. UK is one of the most potential market for Apple. Apple has established many store, and manufacturing facilities around UK. The market itself brings Apple a fine source of income.
However, Apple is not the only one “suffer”. Counting only the App Store, this platform has already supported more than 330,000 job opportunities for the whole UK. Such huge impact in socio-economic makes it also the UK’s lost if Apple choose the leave decision.
Because of those, there is less likely that Apple will leave the market and otherwise. In fact, Apple has to attend one more court later this month. This upcoming court will determine if Apple has to make commitment of paying all the rate (which determine in a court in 2022). If Apple fails to do so, it shall be banned to sell all the infringement devices, including the famous iPhone, in the UK.
Unfair for the Apple
Apple was also disturbed by the court’s decision last year. Specifically, the UK Supreme Court ruled that they will regulate all the rate that Apple has to pay for every patent all over the world; even though the Court only consider UK patents. This court shall continue in 2022 to determine the rate which Apple has to pay.
Many experts and lawyers state that 5 billion Euros is simply “commercially unacceptable”. Apple’s lawyer, Marie Demetriou responded: “I am not sure that is right… Apple’s position is it should indeed be able to reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market. There may be terms that are set by the court which are just commercially unacceptable.”
Acknowledging the matter, Mr. Justice Meade claims that Apple can simply leave the UK market without having to pay 5 billion Euros. However, he evaluate that this action seem less likely to happen.