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Apple charged £348m in iTunes patent dispute

iPhone maker loses claim filed by Texas-based Smartflash relating to the way it stores iTunes content

gavel and keyboard

Apple has been told to pay $533 million (340m) after losing a patent dispute against Texas-based Smartflash, which claimed the iTunes creator had infringed on copyrights relating to how its music service accessed and stored downloaded songs, videos, and games.

Although the company first referred in 2013 to iOS apps developed by Game Circus and KingsIsle Entertainment in its argument, Smartflash later decided to extend this to the whole iTunes service.

Both mentioned developers served as defendants in the case, but this was dismissed from the claim in 2014.

Apple said in a statement that Smartflash does not have grounds to claim for such ownership: "Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented.

"We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."

However, the jury said Smartflash had a legitimate claim in its three filings, saying it first innovated the techniques to manage the storage of audio, video, game and app files, including the technology used by Apple to ensure the files had been correctly purchased before adding them to the library.

Smartflash originally claimed for $852m (550m) in damages, which was proportionate to the number of iOS and OS X devices sold, but said it was happy with the result. The company has also successfully filed cases against Google, Amazon and HTC, with Samsung its next target for the same patent claims.

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