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German court tosses patent troll's $2.2B patent suit against Apple

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
A German court on Friday threw out two patent lawsuits leveled against Apple by non-practicing IP licensing firm IPCom, one of which sought $2.2 billion in damages over alleged infringement of a wireless patent.

IPCom
IPCom's spartan webpage is common among so-called "patent trolls." | Source: IPCom


The pair of dismissals came as part of three separate rulings from two chambers of the Mannheim Regional Court, each involving "patent troll" IPCom, reports FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller. The third case, which was also thrown out, was brought against HTC and pertains to the same patent family used against Apple.

According to Mueller, IPCom has been attempting to monetize a patent portfolio covering standard-essential patents (SEPs) purchased from Bosch after the German engineering and electronics company pulled out of the car phone industry. The properties involve 3G/UMTS wireless technology.

IPCom will have the chance to appeal, but Mueller believes defendants will continue to push for invalidity of European patent EP1841268 and related properties. The patent family has been used against Apple, HTC, Nokia, Ericsson, Vodafone and others. For example, HTC's dismissed case involved IPCom's assertion of German patent DE19910239.

So far, IPCom has been somewhat unsuccessful in its damages claims, but the firm has chalked up at least one win in a settlement from Deutsche Telekom in 2013.

As noted in a previous report regarding the German case, Apple has joined with other tech giants in an effort to curb patent abuse. Along with Yahoo, Intel, Cisco and Facebook, Apple has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stifle the onslaught of thoughtless lawsuits from patent trolls by leveling penalties against failed litigation. Requests have also been sent to the EU regarding patent-related litigation issues.

Currently, firms like IPCom can bring suit against large corporations with little concern of losing as the repercussions are minuscule compared to the potential gain from a settlement or win. In many cases, companies opt to settle in a bid to avoid costly court fees or damages, further enabling patent trolls to level even more claims.
post #2 of 35
Exactly the proper outcome IMO. It's unfortunate that a company has to spend a $100 thousand and more to get patent troll claims dismissed.
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post #3 of 35
To stop these NPE's in their tracks, those suits that get tossed the plaintifs/ trolls should be forced to pay stiff penalties upon having their suits tossed.
post #4 of 35
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Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

To stop these NPE's in their tracks, those suits that get tossed the plaintifs/ trolls should be forced to pay stiff penalties upon having their suits tossed.
That's similar to what the US is proposing with patent reform.

There's nothing wrong with being an NPE - patents are assets and you have every right to monetize them. I wouldn't call IPcom a patent troll just because they are an NPE. They had a real patent and went through the courts to monetize it and lost.

What defines a patent troll is someone who abuses the system. For example, seeking injunctions when you have no products the other party could also try to block. Or sending vague demand letters without clearly specifying which products infringe, how they infringe and which patent they infringe.

This is why Rockstar isn't a patent troll. All these things (and others being proposed) are already part of the procedures they follow.

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post #5 of 35
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Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


What defines a patent troll is someone who abuses the system. For example, seeking injunctions when you have no products the other party could also try to block. Or sending vague demand letters without clearly specifying which products infringe, how they infringe and which patent they infringe.

This is why Rockstar isn't a patent troll. All these things (and others being proposed) are already part of the procedures they follow.

So as long as you don't seek an injunction you can't be a patent troll? (Copy/Fax machines anyone?) 1bugeye.gif The fact you had to carve out an oddly worded exception and then mention Rockstar at all shows you can see how they're might be considered one.

FWIW among the accusations lodged against Rockstar and it's assorted baby-NPE's in training is that they are unspecific in their infringement claims, "concealing the true owners of patents from the Nortel Patent Portfolio, and concealing the complete list of patents (they) believe are infringed".

Even by your definition then Rockstar and its spawn might be patent trolls.

http://www.essentialpatentblog.com/2014/01/rockstar-sued-by-arris-who-manufactures-equipment-sold-to-cable-operators-involved-in-rockstar-litigation/
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 6:59am
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post #6 of 35

This is the problem with this whole Patent suing game the trolls play, The tactic is to go after small player or ones which do not have their own IP and get them to agree to settle, Once that happen and they try and make big head lines about the settlement. Then they go after the big fish, if it does go to court the troll use the fact that others settle as the reason they have a case with merit. Apple had trolls use this tactic against them as well. However, Apple has some very deep pocket and they hired the best law firms around so they end up winning more times than not. When apple wins, it set a precedent that these company will have a hard time going after other companies as well

post #7 of 35
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Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Apple has some very deep pocket and they hired the best law firms around so they end up winning more times than not.

I'm glad that Apple has lots of money, hires the best lawyers, and that is why they usually win.

post #8 of 35

One very interesting note not being mentioned by many is, "Samsung, Google lawyers to represent patent licensing firm in tomorrow's $2 billion Apple trial". Here is the link to the story... http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/02/samsung-google-lawyers-to-represent.html.

 

So, when reading articles like, "Hit with another $2B damage claim, Apple joins Google in pressing Supreme Court to curb patent abuse", I see Apple attempting to force Google to stop pretending to be a defender against patent abuse in the United States while simultaneously supporting the IPCom patent case in Germany. The same goes for Samsung.

 

As far as I know, Google and Samsung had nothing to do with the case, but chose to align themselves with a patent troll against Apple. Since IPCom, Google and Samsung lost the case (which can be appealed), it would be great if the judge forced IPCom, Google and Samsung to pay Apple's legal bill.

post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Apple has some very deep pocket and they hired the best law firms around so they end up winning more times than not.

I'm glad that Apple has lots of money, hires the best lawyers, and that is why they usually win.


Yes, it also helps to have enough money to buy a President.

post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

One very interesting note not being mentioned by many is, "Samsung, Google lawyers to represent patent licensing firm in tomorrow's $2 billion Apple trial". Here is the link to the story... http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/02/samsung-google-lawyers-to-represent.html.

 

So, when reading articles like, "Hit with another $2B damage claim, Apple joins Google in pressing Supreme Court to curb patent abuse", I see Apple attempting to force Google to stop pretending to be a defender against patent abuse in the United States while simultaneously supporting the IPCom patent case in Germany. The same goes for Samsung.

 

As far as I know, Google and Samsung had nothing to do with the case, but chose to align themselves with a patent troll against Apple. Since IPCom, Google and Samsung lost the case (which can be appealed), it would be great if the judge forced IPCom, Google and Samsung to pay Apple's legal bill.

unless I'm misreading the the article you linked I didnt see any solicitors acting on google and samsungs behalf. Law firms that have acted on behalf of google and samsung in other cases but not in this case.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

One very interesting note not being mentioned by many is, "Samsung, Google lawyers to represent patent licensing firm in tomorrow's $2 billion Apple trial". Here is the link to the story... http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/02/samsung-google-lawyers-to-represent.html.

So, when reading articles like, "Hit with another $2B damage claim, Apple joins Google in pressing Supreme Court to curb patent abuse", I see Apple attempting to force Google to stop pretending to be a defender against patent abuse in the United States while simultaneously supporting the IPCom patent case in Germany. The same goes for Samsung.

As far as I know, Google and Samsung had nothing to do with the case, but chose to align themselves with a patent troll against Apple. Since IPCom, Google and Samsung 
lost the case (which can be appealed), it would be great if the judge forced IPCom, Google and Samsung to pay Apple's legal bill.

Google did not align themselves with IPCom against HTC (yup they were sued too) and Apple and have no investment in any of the law-firms representing them. Mr. Mueller could have just as needlessly said "IBM lawyers to represent IPComm", or substituted them for Oracle, Qualcomm, Sony or several other techs who are also QE clients. I wouldn't have expected any less from Florian tho. He seldom misses an opportunity to negatively connect Google to an otherwise unrelated case if he can find a way. 1rolleyes.gif

More tin-foil. . .
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 8:11am
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post #12 of 35

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


So as long as you don't seek an injunction you can't be a patent troll? (Copy/Fax machines anyone?) 1bugeye.gif The fact you had to carve out an oddly worded exception and then mention Rockstar at all shows you can see how they're might be considered one.

FWIW among the accusations lodged against Rockstar and it's assorted baby-NPE's in training is that they are unspecific in their infringement claims, "concealing the true owners of patents from the Nortel Patent Portfolio, and concealing the complete list of patents (they) believe are infringed".

Even by your definition then Rockstar and its spawn might be patent trolls.

http://www.essentialpatentblog.com/2014/01/rockstar-sued-by-arris-who-manufactures-equipment-sold-to-cable-operators-involved-in-rockstar-litigation/

 

I clearly said "all these things (and others being proposed)". You accuse me of "carving out an oddly worded exception" then turn around yourself and do the same thing? Of course, what else would you expect from the resident concern troll with a proven track record of intentionally being obtuse in your posts?

 

Here's what Rockstar does that's different from "real" patent trolls:

 

- They have a staff of engineers that reverse engineer and examine products to look for infringement. Trolls only employ lawyers. They don't get to the "engineering and examination" phase until someone calls their bluff and they actually have to start providing evidence for use in court. Rockstar gathers the evidence BEFORE they contact an infringer. HUGE difference.

- They clearly identify infringing products and identify which patents are involved.

- They attempt to negotiate before actually going to court.

- When filing court cases they are specific about the patents and how they are used.

 

Of course the people being sued by Rockstar are going to complain. The phrase "patent troll" is a hot topic and people love throwing it around regarding anyone filing a lawsuit (there are even idiots who claim Apple or Microsoft are patent trolls, which is absolutely 100% false). But it's nice for some people to be able to categorize companies they dislike by using the latest "buzzword/insult" label on them.

 

And did you actually use the example of trolls sending demand letters for a couple thousand dollars to everyone using a copy/fax machine? What a STUPID argument. Yeah, Rockstar preparing their case and approaching a multi-billion dollar company is EXACTLY the same as a small-time troll trying to shake down independent small businesses.

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post #13 of 35
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Originally Posted by singularity View Post


unless I'm misreading the the article you linked I didnt see any solicitors acting on google and samsungs behalf. Law firms that have acted on behalf of google and samsung in other cases but not in this case.

Under the "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple) section... Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again.

post #14 of 35
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Google did not align themselves with IPCom against HTC and Apple and have no investment in any of the law-firms representing them. 1rolleyes.gif More tin-foil. . .

I did not mention HTC just Apple. Under the "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple) section... "Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again." Try again. :smokey:

post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

I did not mention HTC just Apple. Under the "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple) section... "Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again." Try again. 1smoking.gif

IPComm was also suing HTC alongside Apple in Germany for the same patents if I read it correctly. Sad to see you fall so easily for Mr. Mueller's wordplay, as tho Google in-house attorneys are involved. If you'd read a bit more carefully you should have noted that he was referring to an independent law-firm, Quinn-Emanuel, who has also represented dozens of other tech firms, Google being just one of them.
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 8:25am
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post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by singularity View Post


unless I'm misreading the the article you linked I didnt see any solicitors acting on google and samsungs behalf. Law firms that have acted on behalf of google and samsung in other cases but not in this case.

Under the "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple) section... Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again.

you mean the law firms that those companies have hired but arent actually part of the company just like hengeler mueller. Your merging hired law firms with separate companies
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

So as long as you don't seek an injunction you can't be a patent troll? (Copy/Fax machines anyone?) 1bugeye.gif The fact you had to carve out an oddly worded exception and then mention Rockstar at all shows you can see how they're might be considered one.

FWIW among the accusations lodged against Rockstar and it's assorted baby-NPE's in training is that they are unspecific in their infringement claims, "concealing the true owners of patents from the Nortel Patent Portfolio, and concealing the complete list of patents (they) believe are infringed".

Even by your definition then Rockstar and its spawn might be patent trolls.

http://www.essentialpatentblog.com/2014/01/rockstar-sued-by-arris-who-manufactures-equipment-sold-to-cable-operators-involved-in-rockstar-litigation/

Rockstar is not considered a patent troll. The patents are owned by practicing entities, and the previous owner, also a practing entity sought licenses for the patents.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Rockstar is not considered a patent troll. The patents are owned by practicing entities, and the previous owner, also a practing entity sought licenses for the patents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Quote:

I clearly said "all these things (and others being proposed)". You accuse me of "carving out an oddly worded exception" then turn around yourself and do the same thing? Of course, what else would you expect from the resident concern troll with a proven track record of intentionally being obtuse in your posts?

Here's what Rockstar does that's different from "real" patent trolls:

- They have a staff of engineers that reverse engineer and examine products to look for infringement. Trolls only employ lawyers. They don't get to the "engineering and examination" phase until someone calls their bluff and they actually have to start providing evidence for use in court. Rockstar gathers the evidence BEFORE they contact an infringer. HUGE difference.
- They clearly identify infringing products and identify which patents are involved.
- They attempt to negotiate before actually going to court.
- When filing court cases they are specific about the patents and how they are used.

Just to be clear then if

- an NPE has a qualified person identifying potential infringers and the products involved
- they send a demand letter in advance identifying the offended patent(s)
- they make a licensing demand
- and they file a lawsuit specifying the infringement and patents involved

they can't be termed a troll? Perhaps you could offer a named example of an NPE suing Apple, Google, Microsoft or other large tech who does qualify as a troll. It would certainly help in understanding the difference between a "real" troll and a "fake" troll.
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 8:53am
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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Rockstar is not considered a patent troll. The patents are owned by practicing entities, and the previous owner, also a practing entity sought licenses for the patents.

The patents are not owned by practicing entities. Rockstar themselves may be owned by a several different investors but ownership of the IP was transferred to Rockstar who has sold and/or transferred some of them to yet other NPE's. No specific investor has ownership of Rockstar Consortium's patents. They only serve as investors and supposedly consultants. As an attorney (if I remember right) I would have expected you to know the difference.

Let me give you a simple example. If Sergey Brin is an Apple investor (I'd be surprised if he isn't!) and some of Apple's executive team are Google investors (again surprised if they aren't) and Bill Gates owns some of both does it give any of them control over the others IP?
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 9:30am
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post #20 of 35
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Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post


Yes, it also helps to have enough money to buy a President.

Methinks I smelleth a red herring...
post #21 of 35
It's good the major tech companies are banding together to stop patent trolls at least. I mean legitimate ones of course, they're just wasting the court's time. I don't think IPCom is necessarily a troll either, it's important to protect what you patent. I just don't see these lawsuits stopping anytime soon though.
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post #22 of 35
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Originally Posted by HealthNut View Post

It's good the major tech companies are banding together to stop patent trolls at least. I mean legitimate ones of course, they're just wasting the court's time. I don't think IPCom is necessarily a troll either, it's important to protect what you patent. I just don't see these lawsuits stopping anytime soon though.

IPCom didn't patent anything in the first place AFAIK nor ever produce any products. In this case they suing with patents they got from Bosch. But I agree with you that it's good to see some of the leading techs finding they have a shared concern.
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post #23 of 35
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


IPComm was also suing HTC alongside Apple in Germany for the same patents if I read it correctly. Sad to see you fall so easily for Mr. Mueller's wordplay, as tho Google in-house attorneys are involved. If you'd read a bit more carefully you should have noted that he was referring to an independent law-firm, Quinn-Emanuel, who has also represented dozens of other tech firms, Google being just one of them.

I chose not to reference HTC in my Apple-focused response because I do not care about HTC. As far as reading a bit more carefully, I noted... 

 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple): Dr. Frank-Erich Hufnagel and Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont fended off, at least for the time being, all seven Samsung lawsuits against Apple in Germany, five of them over SEPs. A few months ago they also won a stay of a rate-setting lawsuit brought by Google (Motorola). Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again. Given their perfect track record, it's no surprise that Apple keeps relying on them here.

 

My entire subject in this matter has been the above italicized and underlined sentence. With so many lawyers mentioned in the report, can you be absolutely, one hundred percent certain Mr. Mueller was not writing about Samsung and Google lawyers. If you can, do you have any shred of evidence that Mr. Mueller was wrong about Google and Samsung lawyers? If so, present it to me and everyone else here. Until that time I am going with Mr. Mueller writing the truth.

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

I chose not to reference HTC in my Apple-focused response because I do not care about HTC. As far as reading a bit more carefully, I noted... 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Apple): Dr. Frank-Erich Hufnagel and Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont fended off, at least for the time being, all seven Samsung lawsuits against Apple in Germany, five of them over SEPs. A few months ago they also won a stay of a rate-setting lawsuit brought by Google (Motorola). Tomorrow they are going to face some of Samsung and Google's lawyers, who also do a fair amount of work for IPCom, once again. Given their perfect track record, it's no surprise that Apple keeps relying on them here.

My entire subject in this matter has been the above italicized and underlined sentence. With so many lawyers mentioned in the report, can you be absolutely, one hundred percent certain Mr. Mueller was not writing about Samsung and Google lawyers. If you can, do you have any shred of evidence that Mr. Mueller was wrong about Google and Samsung lawyers? If so, present it to me and everyone else here. Until that time I am going with Mr. Mueller writing the truth.

Who said he's lying? He's simply practicing his "guilt by association" skills. Go a bit farther down that same page to find what attorneys Mr/ Mueller is referring to since he doesn't tell you in the only blurb you seem to have any interest in reading. Paying attention to which ones are representing IPCom (It's in parentheses next to each of the attorney names) and also mention Google will make it easy-peasy if you don't have the time to read more than needed. Hint: It starts with Quinn-Emanuel. 1wink.gif
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post #25 of 35
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Who said he's lying? He's simply practicing his "guilt by association" skills. Go a bit farther down that same page to find what attorneys Mr/ Mueller is referring to since he doesn't tell you in the only blurb you seem to have any interest in reading. Paying attention to which ones are representing IPCom (It's in parentheses next to each of the attorney names) and also mention Google will make it easy-peasy if you don't have the time to read more than needed. Hint: It starts with Quinn-Emanuel. 1wink.gif

I have read the entire report. You are making the assumption Quinn-Emmanuel are the lawyers that Mr. Mueller references as Google and Samsung lawyers. I am making the assumption that Mr. Mueller is referencing Google and Samsung lawyers. So we agree to disagree unless you can prove Mr. Mueller was not 100% honest in his report. You can keep on trying to convince me otherwise, but I doubt you will be able to do so without proof. Thanks for playing. :p

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

I have read the entire report. You are making the assumption Quinn-Emmanuel are the lawyers that Mr. Mueller references as Google and Samsung lawyers. I am making the assumption that Mr. Mueller is referencing Google and Samsung lawyers. So we agree to disagree unless you can prove Mr. Mueller was not 100% honest in his report. You can keep on trying to convince me otherwise, but I doubt you will be able to do so without proof. Thanks for playing. 1tongue.gif

Well show me which attorneys he was referring to then*. He listed them all by name.

*Yeah I know. . . the Samsung and Google ones. LOL
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post #27 of 35
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Well show me which attorneys he was referring to then*. He listed them all by name.

*Yeah I know. . . the Samsung and Google ones. LOL

Your timing is great! I was sending Mr. Mueller an email asking him to confirm his statement about Google and Samsung lawyers when I was notified you had added another post for me. I will update this post IF he chooses to respond to me. This will be interesting! :) 

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

Your timing is great! I was sending Mr. Mueller an email asking him to confirm his statement about Google and Samsung lawyers when I was notified you had added another post for me. I will update this post IF he chooses to respond to me. This will be interesting! 1smile.gif  

Lets see if his "Google attorneys" is the same as mine, Quinn-Emanuel 1biggrin.gif Would you consider his article a bit misleading if it is?
Edited by Gatorguy - 2/28/14 at 11:59am
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post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

To stop these NPE's in their tracks, those suits that get tossed the plaintifs/ trolls should be forced to pay stiff penalties upon having their suits tossed.

 

I think it could be as simple as forcing the troll to pay the defense costs / legal expenses if their suit is shown to be without merit. They brought the suit, they should bear the brunt of the costs. Simple.

 

I suggest this in part because on the other hand, if they win a case, the legal cost of their bringing suit is usually reimbursed by the defendant, and factored into the settlement. Why is the opposite not true? Why should the defendant bear any cost if they are found to be without fault?

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post
 


Yes, it also helps to have enough money to buy a President.

 

Love the paranoia. Talk to the tinfoil around your own mind.

post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

To stop these NPE's in their tracks, those suits that get tossed the plaintifs/ trolls should be forced to pay stiff penalties upon having their suits tossed.


I disagree.  It should be a right of every patent holder to sue without being punished. 

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post
 


Yes, it also helps to have enough money to buy a President.

You are correct. Samsung does know how to do this.

-> http://www.upi.com/topic/Lee_Kun-hee/

"On January 14, 2008, Lee's home and office were raided by the Korean police for an ongoing probe into accusations that Samsung is responsible for a slush fund used to bribe influential prosecutors, judges, and political figures in South Korea."

post #33 of 35
Companies like these are the Flappy Bird real-world rip-offs. 2 billion dollars. What A-Holes.1oyvey.gif
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 

I'm glad that Apple has lots of money, hires the best lawyers, and that is why they usually win.

First make sure you quote my entire comment, and stop acting like a politician.

 

But yes, if you even been involved in Patent litigation and realize you have to argue your case in front of people who most time have no idea what your patent is about or have the first clue about technology you better have good lawyers. The Apple case against Samsung could have gone either way, why did you think Samsung wanted one of the jury members tosses from the case after the fact, he actually understood the who patent thing and explained it to everyone else on the jury.

 

Most Patent Troll hope you will just pay to make them go away since going to trial will be costly and you can not predict the outcome even if you can proved you are right and did nothing wrong. You know that 7% of the people in the US still thinks the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth, imagine getting one of those people on your patent trial. These are the kind of people you are dealing with when you walk into a court room.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/flat-earth-society-psychology_n_2038198.html

post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

why did you think Samsung wanted one of the jury members tosses from the case after the fact, he actually understood the who patent thing and explained it to everyone else on the jury.

Incorrectly I might add. He apparently didn't know as much as he thought he did.
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