The Intellectual Property Litigation team achieved a total victory for Personalized Media Communications (PMC) in a patent infringement case against Apple, Inc.: Personalized Media Communications, LLC v. Apple, Inc. After a one-week trial, on March 19, 2021, an eight person jury returned an unanimous verdict in PMC’s favor awarding PMC $308.5 million in past damages for Apple’s infringement.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2015 in the Eastern District of Texas, alleged that Apple's FairPlay — used by iTunes and the Apple App Store to decrypt content like movies, music, and apps — infringes a PMC digital rights management patent that issued in 2012. The case was stayed in 2017 after the PTAB instituted petitions for inter partes review filed by Apple. The PTAB issued a Final Written Decision finding all asserted claims unpatentable in view of prior art relating to analog methods of encrypting and decrypting content. Goodwin handled PMC’s appeal of the PTAB’s decision, however, and successfully persuaded the Federal Circuit to reverse the PTAB’s decision. After the Federal Circuit affirmed the validity of PMC’s patent, the district court lifted the stay and set trial for March 2021. The trial began on March 15, 2021, and was among the first jury trials held in the Eastern District of Texas since jury trials were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After five hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict finding that Apple infringed PMC’s patent and award PMC $308.5 million in past damages. The jury awarded the damages as a running royalty, so damages continue to accrue until the patent expires in 2029.
PMC owns a fundamental patent portfolio of over 100 issued patents relating to the control of networked equipment, including online and mobile environments.