Apple threatens to leave the UK market amid a patent war

Apple will reportedly exit the UK market if unacceptable terms are to be set amid an ongoing patent war. The iPhone maker is being sued by Optis Cellular Technology which holds patents for some “standardized” technologies. 

The UK based Optis Cellular Technology company is a global patent holder of 3G and 4G LTE “essential” technologies. According to the patent(s) holding company, Apple has infringed many of its patents and has refused to pay $7 billion in license fees. 

A patent troll goes tough on Apple

It was ruled by a British High Court judge, last month, that Apple infringed two of the patents which are owned by Optis Cellular Technology. “Everyone thinks about Apple as the market leader in smartphones, but Apple has to buy in most of the technology in an iPhone,” said Optis’ lawyer Kathleen Fox.  

According to MacRumours, Optis Wireless Technology is a “patent troll” – a company that generates revenue mainly through patent litigations. Its sister companies – PanOptis, Optis Wireless Technology, Unwired Planet International, and Unwired Planet, are also reportedly similar entities – hold many patents.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

Last year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that it is capable of setting the fine (rate) Apple should pay for Optis Wireless Technology’s patents infringed globally. However, the UK court only considers the patents registered in the UK that have been infringed.

Earlier this year, Mr Justice Meade said that Apple could avoid the sanctions by exitting the UK market but also added that such a move appears unlikely. “There is no evidence Apple is really going to say no [to paying the rate set by the judge], is there? There is no evidence it is even remotely possible Apple will leave the UK market?”

“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,” said Apple’s lawyer Marie Demetriou.

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