Apple Settles 2012 Siri Patent Lawsuit for $24.9 Million

The lawsuit alleged that Siri technology was developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before Apple introduced it in its iPhones.  

Apple, Siri, patent dispute, patent infringement, Dynamic Advances, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Apple will pay a $24.9 million settlement to resolve a 2012 patent infringement lawsuit over the introduction of its Siri voice-activated digital personal assistant application in the iPhone 4S smartphone in 2011.

The $24.9 million will be paid to Dynamic Advances, the exclusive licensee of a patent from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., according to an April 19 article by The Albany Business Review.

The patent for the voice-activated app technology was issued four years before Siri's arrival from Apple in 2011, which was also the same year that the university licensed the patent to Dynamic Advances, the story reported. A professor and a doctoral student at the time invented the technology that was outlined by the patent, which was at the heart of the lawsuit.

Dynamic Advances' parent company, Marathon Patent Group, will receive $5 million from Apple immediately, while the rest of the settlement will come after several conditions are met, the story reported.

"Dynamic Advances expects to pay 50 percent of that money to Rensselaer, legal counsel and the predecessor exclusive licensee of the patents in suit," the article stated, based on information in regulatory filings.

Apple, like other large technology companies, is often in the center of patent infringement lawsuits.

An ongoing case involves a dispute with Samsung over iPhone design patents that dates back several years. In 2012, a jury awarded $1 billion to Apple in its case against Samsung, but the award was later lowered to $548 million, according to earlier eWEEK reports.

In December 2015, Samsung paid Apple $548 million after an appeals court determined that the company needed to pay Apple that amount for violating its iPhone's design patents. The amount represented the total profits from Samsung's sales of smartphones and tablets based on the infringed Apple design patents.

Samsung then immediately filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to review the case further. Samsung's appeal to the Supreme Court asks the court to review whether Apple is entitled to all of Samsung's profits from sales of the infringing devices because the alleged patent violation only related to the external design of the product, the appeal stated.

In January 2016, Google, Facebook, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, legal professionals and intellectual property experts filed friend of the court briefs on behalf of Samsung that asked the high court to review the case, citing concerns over the way the damages against Samsung were assessed. The briefs also came from civil rights, public policy and trade groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

In February 2015, Apple was ordered by a Texas jury to pay $852.9 million to Smartflash LLC to compensate the company for infringing on several Smartflash patents in Apple's iTunes music software, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Smartflash alleged in its lawsuit that Apple violated its patents in three ways concerning digital rights management and inventions related to data storage and managing access through payment systems.