Apple warns it might leave the UK market over $7 billion patent dispute
Apple’s lawyers have warned that the company could be forced to quit the UK market over a bitter $7 billion patent dispute; a bold and unprecedented statement that could see Apple stop selling products and services in the country, as well as the possible closure of its 38 retail stores.
While it seems unlikely Apple would follow through on its threat, given that the UK is one of the company’s largest markets outside of the United States, the statement shows Apple’s dismay after being sued by patent trolls Optis Cellular Technology, who bought LTE patents for the sole purpose of patent litigation.
Optis is suing Apple for patent infringement after the company refused to pay license fees worth around $7 billion for using “standardized” smartphone technology in its devices. A High Court judge ruled last month that Apple had infringed two Optis patents, for the technology that helps the iPhone connect to 3G and 4G networks.
This is Money reports that should Apple be forced to pay the $7 billion sought after by the patent trolls, Marie Demetriou, Apple’s lawyer has warned that the company would need to “reflect on the terms and decide whether commercially it is right to accept them or to leave the UK market.”
Again, while it seems unlikely Apple would follow through and exit the UK, the case highlights how seriously the company is taking what appears to be a clear case of extortion, and the need for an end to companies acquiring patents for the purpose of taking other companies to court.