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Apple Ordered to Pay $23.6 Million in Damages for Patent Infringement

Apple loses in patent trial.

Chris Dorney / Shutterstock

A federal jury has ordered Apple to pay nearly $23.6 million in damages for infringing on patents held by a Texas firm.

Mobile Telecommunications Technologies sued Apple last year, claiming that the Cupertino company’s smartphones, tablets and iPod touch devices that offer services such as iMessage mobile messages, emojis and calendar invitations violated several of its patents governing the two-way exchange of data.

After six hours of deliberation, an eight-member jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that Apple had violated five of six patents. Jurors agreed with Apple’s argument that an emoji — a single character intended to convey an emotion — didn’t constitute the sort of message that was covered by MTel’s patents.

Daniel Scardino, the Austin attorney who represented the Texas firm, applauded Monday’s verdict. He said it recognizes that current advances in wireless technology are built on the foundational work done decades earlier.

“Apple makes a great product and they deserve a lot of the credit they get,” said Scardino. “But they should also give credit to those who are due credit for advancing the state of technology that came before them. That’s what this trial is all about.”

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment.

Mobile Telecommunications was considered a wireless messaging pioneer in the 1990s, when its SkyTel 2-Way paging system was the state of the art for mobile communications. The company now acts as the licensing division of United Wireless, which co-owns and operates the SkyTel network used by emergency workers.

The Lewisville company initially sought $237.2 million in damages, or about $1 per device.

Just last month, Apple defeated a civil suit brought by a Honolulu company that was seeking $94 million in damages for allegedly infringing on its patents for pager technology.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.