Quarterhill shares soar after Apple ordered to pay $145M to Ottawa firm


A U.S. jury has ordered one of the world’s largest technology companies to pay a subsidiary of Ottawa-based Quarterhill a whopping US$145.1 million in damages for infringing on its patents.

Quarterhill’s shares jumped 37 per cent to $1.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning before retreating slightly to  $1.78 in late afternoon trading, up 28 per cent on the day.

The patents, held by Quarterhill company WiLAN, reportedly involve wireless technology used in versions of Apple’s iPhones.

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The massive award – and corresponding stock price spike – once again throw the spotlight on Quarterhill’s patent licensing operations even as the firm pushes into new sectors.

Last year, WiLAN was turned into a subsidiary of a new company, Quarterhill, which in turn made several acquisitions that gave it a foothold in the emerging Industrial Internet of Things sector.

For example, Quarterhill company International Road Dynamics uses sensors and information-collecting devices to help transportation authorities monitor and manage truck traffic.

One of the goals for the publicly traded company was to move beyond WiLAN’s “lumpy” financial performance stemming from the wild swings in revenues from quarter to quarter stemming from its success or failure of litigation and court battles over patents.

However, WiLAN’s performance still continues to strongly influence the company’s earnings and was blamed in part for pulling down Quarterhill to a first-quarter loss of US$12.1 million.

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