Apple faces more patent 'troll' suits than any other tech company

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Over the last five years, no technology company has been sued by more non-practicing entities over alleged patent infringement than Apple.



The tally of tech companies being "pursued" by non-practicing entities has been tracked by the group PatentFreedom. By their tally, Apple and Hewlett-Packard are tied with 131 lawsuits filed against them since 2007.



In more recent years, as Apple has grown to become by far the largest technology company in the world and most valuable corporation in America, no one has been sued as many times as Apple. In the three-year span from 2009 to the end of 2011, Apple faced a dozen more lawsuits from "NPE" groups than PC maker HP, making it currently the most-sued in the industry.



"Patent trolls," as they're commonly known on the Internet, are referred to by PatentFreedom as "NPEs." The group feels the term "patent troll" is "unhelpful," as it is frequently used to refer to individuals or corporate entities who wish to enforce their patent rights.



PatentFreedom, however, draws a distinction by defining certain groups as "non-practicing entities." To them, an NPE is "any entity that earns or plans to earn the majority of its revenue from the licensing or enforcement of its intellectual property."











That means companies like Samsung, Motorola and HTC, which have lodged their own patent infringement complaints against Apple, do not qualify as NPEs. Instead, companies like Lodsys Group LLC and Graphics Property Holdings Inc., which derive most revenue from licensing or enforcing patented technologies, would fall under that umbrella.



The data also shows that the number of lawsuits filed by NPEs against the top the top technology companies has been growing. While Apple saw just 12 lawsuits from NPEs in 2007, another 42 were filed in 2011 alone. HP also saw NPE lawsuits against it double from 15 in 2007 to 30 in 2011.



The PatentFreedom numbers show that Apple and HP have been the most-sued technology companies by NPEs since 2007, while Samsung came in third with 105 complaints lodged against it. In fourth is AT&T with 102 lawsuits, while Sony took fifth with 100 over the last five years.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 646member
    Hardly surprising news but at least Apple has a few dollars banked to squash these leeches.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Apple is, and always has been treated unfairly. It makes the blood boil to keep track of all the outrages.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    At first glance I thought the title read "patent 'troll' sluts."
  • Reply 4 of 34
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joeblowjapan View Post


    At first glance I thought the title read "patent 'troll' sluts."



    lol, that would have just been redundant!
  • Reply 5 of 34
    arasuarasu Posts: 32member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    Apple is, and always has been treated unfairly. It makes the blood boil to keep track of all the outrages.



    Karma?

  • Reply 6 of 34
    j1h15233j1h15233 Posts: 274member
    Also, water is wet.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    rptrpt Posts: 175member
    Not a big surprise



    Would be a lot more interesting to know how the outcome of the cases.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Now, how about an article on the outcome of those lawsuits, that is for those that are over?
  • Reply 9 of 34
    [greg][greg] Posts: 78member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post


    apple faces more patent 'troll' suits than any other any tech company







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post


    by their tally, apple and hewlett-packard are tied with 131 lawsuits filed against them since 2007.









    AI requires five characters to post, so here's some extra!
  • Reply 10 of 34
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    The reason this work is companies like Apple have not other way to come to an agreement with these company other than to win or just pay since most practing company will settle since they do not want to counter suited for using another companies IP, Usually in the end both company agree to cross license and not pay each other anything.





    Some smart Lawyer will figure out a way to beat these no value companies at their game. Since most all of these NPE are actually owned by lawyers.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Great news for lawyers everywhere. Hey, they have families to feed too.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 802member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Great news for lawyers everywhere. Hey, they have families to feed too.



    I expect the lawyers already have all the live rodents they can eat.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Sorry if I'm obtuse, but isn't the entire point of the patent system to protect the "small guys" who may be clever enough to invent something but doesn't have the finances to make a product, from the large guys who could just take the innovation and put it into production? (Thus encouraging them to make the innovation available to the public instead of having it collect dust in a safe.)



    Seems kind of petty calling them 'trolls'.



    Personally, I think the entire patent system is invalid, but some of you seem to cheer when Apple sues someone and boo when Apple gets sued.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


    Sorry if I'm obtuse, but isn't the entire point of the patent system to protect the "small guys" who may be clever enough to invent something but doesn't have the finances to make a product, from the large guys who could just take the innovation and put it into production? Seems kind of petty calling them 'trolls'.



    Patent trolls are people/institutions that patent something, never ever actually make a product using the patent, and then just before it expires (or after someone has made something similar), they sue to get damages.



    Quote:

    Personally, I think the entire patent system is invalid



    Yes, there's certainly no sense in being guaranteed protection for your intellectual property.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Patent trolls are people/institutions that patent something, never ever actually make a product using the patent, and then just before it expires (or after someone has made something similar), they sue to get damages.



    The terminology is ridiculous.



    A patent owner is free to sell their patent to anyone they wish. The new patent owner is free to do whatever he wants under the law. There's no 'troll' about it.



    If you want the laws changed, contact your legislator. Meanwhile, let's drop the 'patent troll' crap.



    It's like this. Let's say that I own a factory but I'm not interested in manufacturing anything, so I sell the factory to someone else. They are also not interested in manufacturing anything. They decide not to do anything with the property for a while. Does that give a local manufacturer the right to move into the factory and start using it just because the owner isn't using it? Of course not. So why would intellectual property be any different (other than trademarks where the law specifically states that you must use the mark to retain it)?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    The terminology is ridiculous.



    A patent owner is free to sell their patent to anyone they wish. The new patent owner is free to do whatever he wants under the law. There's no 'troll' about it.



    If you want the laws changed, contact your legislator. Meanwhile, let's drop the 'patent troll' crap.



    It's like this. Let's say that I own a factory but I'm not interested in manufacturing anything, so I sell the factory to someone else. They are also not interested in manufacturing anything. They decide not to do anything with the property for a while. Does that give a local manufacturer the right to move into the factory and start using it just because the owner isn't using it? Of course not. So why would intellectual property be any different (other than trademarks where the law specifically states that you must use the mark to retain it)?



    I supposed in this case, the owner of the factory at least had a factory that actually made something at one time.



    I think it's more akin to someone getting a patent right now for something that will happen for certain a few years from now (like emailing photos), sit on it, and then sue anyone that actually did all the work to actually get it working not knowing some tool actually patented it.



    This is the patent system protecting the "little guy", this is the little guy trying to game the system.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Patent trolls are people/institutions that patent something, never ever actually make a product using the patent, and then just before it expires (or after someone has made something similar), they sue to get damages.







    Yes, there's certainly no sense in being guaranteed protection for your intellectual property.



    Yes they should protect their property but things that get patents is just ridiculous. If you invent a new heart valve patent approved a generic description of whay your tablet should look like, no. Swooping hand gestures not so much.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I supposed in this case, the owner of the factory at least had a factory that actually made something at one time.



    It doesn't change anything. But if you wish:



    I own a factory which used to make widgets. I decided to stop making widgets so sold my factory to someone else. They have not rented it yet. Does that give someone else the right to move in and start making widgets without permission?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I think it's more akin to someone getting a patent right now for something that will happen for certain a few years from now (like emailing photos), sit on it, and then sue anyone that actually did all the work to actually get it working not knowing some tool actually patented it.



    This is the patent system protecting the "little guy", this is the little guy trying to game the system.



    You need to learn how patents work. If you know for certain that something will happen in a few years, then it's obvious and not patentable.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    rptrpt Posts: 175member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I supposed in this case, the owner of the factory at least had a factory that actually made something at one time.



    I think it's more akin to someone getting a patent right now for something that will happen for certain a few years from now (like emailing photos), sit on it, and then sue anyone that actually did all the work to actually get it working not knowing some tool actually patented it.



    This is the patent system protecting the "little guy", this is the little guy trying to game the system.



    When I was a kid I read the novels of Jules Verne. Thank heaven he was not a lawyer, not to mention Leonardo da Vinci!



    In my opinion the system should be based on someone actually copying something, not just the something becoming technologically feasible and then "invented" as a natural improvement because it was obvious.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RPT View Post


    When I was a kid I read the novels of Jules Verne. Thank heaven he was not a lawyer, not to mention Leonardo da Vinci!



    In my opinion the system should be based on someone actually copying something, not just the something becoming technologically feasible and then "invented" as a natural improvement because it was obvious.



    That's the way the system works. If something is obvious, it's not patentable.



    Granted, patent examiners sometimes (perhaps even often) make mistakes, but the alleged infringer has the opportunity to prove that the improvement was obvious - and therefore have the patent invalidated.
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