AH Tech Talk: German Patent Troll Company Sues Apple For $2 Billion

Apple is a company that knows the inside of a courtroom. They've been waging a legal battle with Samsung for years now. German company IPCom GmbH & Co. KG wants to face off with Apple now, and they have filed a lawsuit in Germany alleging that Apple infringed on patents that they hold. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that IPCom wants $2.12 billion in damages from Apple. The patents in question were purchased by the German patent troll. IPCom doesn't actually make or do anything related to the patents that they hold. The patents that Apple allegedly infringed upon are directly related to the technology that Apple's phones use to place outgoing 911 calls. IPCom bought a portfolio of patents in 2007 that includes the allegedly infringed patent. 2007 is also the year that the first iPhone was released.

IPCom began suing major telecomm companies using their patents almost as soon as they purchased those patents. They sued Nokia for €12 billion in a UK court back in 2011, but the English judge threw out the case. The England and Wales Court of Appeal ruled that IPCom was a "non practising entity" and that their patents were not valid because they don't operate any kind of actual business that is covered by their patents. This is a classic case of patent trolling, of the worst kind. Several companies including Apple have attempted to have IPCom's patents invalidated with the European Patent Office. So far, they haven't been able to make that happen, and IPCom is still able to use their purchased patents to try to squeeze money out of these manufacturers. IPCom was actually founded in 2007, according to their website. It's no coincidence that the company was formed around the same time that their patent portfolio was purchased from Robert Bosch GmbH and then immediately began hunting for royalties.

The U.S. Senate is trying to pass legislation that would put a stop to patent trolls like IPCom. 2014 is going to be a big year for patent law reform. Companies like Google, Apple, and Motorola are pushing for this legislation to pass. When this legislation gets passed, everyone will benefit except the trolls.

 

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