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Federal Circuit upholds previous Apple legal win in DRM rights battle with ContentGuard

AppleInsider reports that the Federal Circuit has handed Apple a win by affirming a previous Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision to review a patent in a long-running digital rights management patent lawsuit saga against a company called ContentGuard. Apple won the lawsuit in 2015.

“The saga didn’t end there, with tech giants like Apple and Google continuing to seek invalidation via CBM reviews of ContentGuard’s DRM patents. One of those reviews ended up being instituted by the PTAB in 2016 and found that one of the ContentGuard patents was indeed unpatentable. That decision was eventually vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2018,” AppleInsider notes. “On Monday, the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s decision, which Apple and Google argued in favor of. That will allow for the DRM patent in question to be reviewed for eligibility.

In 2013 ContentGuard sued Apple and other companies, claiming patent infringements involving more than 300 issued patents and more than 160 pending patent applications in content management and protection technologies. The Pendrell subsidiary claimed that many of the world’s mobile phones, tablets and e-readers produced today rely on its digital rights management technologies (“DRM”) to safeguard music, movies, television shows, games, documents and other content from piracy.

“Many leading companies around the world have recognized the value of our technological innovations and have been willing to pay a fair and reasonable amount to lawfully use these innovations in their own products,” said James Baker, ContentGuard’s vice president for licensing and strategic development, in a press release.  “Unfortunately, other companies have chosen to take the opposite approach, continuing to unlawfully use ContentGuard’s intellectual property even after acknowledging that they should pay for its use.  After significant time, effort, and expense has been invested by ContentGuard to resolve these matters amicably, it is unfortunate that we are forced to resort to the courts to protect the significant investment we have made in innovation.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.