A jury in the plaintiff-friendly Eastern District of Texas has ordered Apple to pay $308.5 million to a small, privately held company for infringing a patent related to digital rights management.
An expert for Personalized Media Communications, the plaintiff, estimated that Apple owed $240 million. But after a five-day trial, the jury increased the amount by ordering Apple to pay a running royalty, which bases the award on sales or use of a product.
The jury found that Apple infringed on one of Personalized Media’s patents when it developed the FairPlay DRM system. That DRM would form the foundation of the iTunes Music Store, which was introduced in April 2003. Initially, the DRM-locked audio files were limited to Mac and iPod users who purchased music through the iTunes Music Store, though usage expanded when Apple rolled the system out to Windows users later that year and again when the company introduced its Apple Music streaming service in 2015.