Samsung may be in a position to save Apple from paying $533 million fine if the South Korean tech giant is able to strike Texas licensing firm Smartflash, currently in court with Apple over patents used by Apple for iTunes’ payment system.
Last week, Samsung which was also being sued over the same technology, convinced U.S regulators to review if two patents of Smartflash should have been issued, firstly. Samsung claims that Smartflash is not worthy of the patents as they have not been commercially used by the company and showed no interest to use it. After the review, if the board to decides to chuck the patents, it would not only be at Samsung’s advantage but would be of Apple’s too. Apple spent more than four years fighting over smart phone technology on four continents.
Smartflash claims it otherwise saying it was planning to use payments patents on a partnership with Britney Spears in 2011, but it never came to form. The company has been holding the patent for last 14 years.
The review board consists of a team of judges at U.S Patent and Trademark Office where they will look at the patent in-depth and make a decision relevant to the current case. There are chances for Apple’s case to be dropped by the USPTO even if a judge in Texas decided Apple to pay the fine to Smarflash, if the Samsung wins. Despite of it, Apple may have to pay $500 million for transactions and revenue generated over iTunes for that period of time.
Experts on patents suggest that Smartflash may not win the battle and end up losing its patent. Considering the size of Apple and Samsung, its panel of members deciding on Smartflash would be very less. Even if is ordered to pay, its sure to go through few more legal battles to justify what it did is right. Same is applied to Samsung, though the intensity is much lesser. The patents are under scrutiny to check how long its valid if they are not used for commercial products.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that US government should be the one to reform patents to avoid these types of cases later. It recently dropped its Rockstar Consortium – a huge U.S patent troll – which took a toll on Google and Samsung for more than five years.