A jury in the US District Court for the Northern District of California recently ruled against Apple in favor of Core Wireless, agreeing with Core Wireless' assertion that Apple infringed on two smartphone patents. Core Wireless is a subsidiary of Conversation Intellectual Property Management, a firm that also recently won a suit against LG.

"We are very pleased with the verdict,"Conversant CEO John Lindgren said. "We appreciate the efforts of the court and the jury. This confirms the strength of the Core Wireless portfolio, especially following our success against LG earlier this year in two cases in the Eastern District of Texas." The patents involved inventions for improving smartphone battery life (guess it didn't work that well) and boosting signal quality.

Conversant said many of Apple's iPhones, ranging back to the iPhone 3G, and all of its iPads, infringed on the patents. Apple was ordered to pay $7.3 million in damages.

Patent trolls

One of the problems with these companies, like Conversant Intellectual Property Management, is that they often own patents but don't actually put them to use building products. Sometimes they'll buy patents knowing they can then go after a company that uses the tech. A company like LG or Apple, for example, might actually already have a product on the market that infringes on the patent. Eventually, Apple or LG or any other firm ends up in the courtroom. As such, firms like this are often referred to as "patent trolls." In any case, that's the law and the jury ruled against Apple for a reason.