Apple seeks over $15M in fees from patent holdings firm for 'frivolous' lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2015
A federal court motion filed last Friday reveals Apple is looking to garnish more than $15 million in attorneys' fees and costs from non-practicing patent holdings firm Unwired Planet, which engaged in a series "kitchen-sink" lawsuits targeting iOS device connectivity features.




Unwired Planet, formerly known as Openwave, first took action against Apple -- and RIM -- in a complaint concerning five patents filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2011. After untenable claim constructions forced UP to abandon the ITC case, the firm applied three of the same patents to a second suit in Delaware district court and a third in Nevada.

Apple's motion stems from UP's Nevada case in which a whopping 247 claims from a total of ten patents were asserted against iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, much more than can be reasonably expected to go to trial. The case was subsequently transferred to the Northern District of California where Apple won a non-infringement ruling. Apple contends the patents in suit do not cover technology applied in its iOS device lineup.

Law360 reported on Apple's most recent appeal on Monday.

Apple argues UP's litigation tactics involve conflating case details, refusing to abide by court standards and asserting an obscene number of claims in a strategy characterized as "scattershot." Further, Apple argues UP knew of its portfolio's obsolescence and chose to wage a war of attrition rather than win on merit.

"Nevertheless, UP asserted a menagerie of claims against Apple, presumably in the hope that something would stick and that Apple would tire of spending resources on litigating claims that would inevitably be abandoned," the filing reads.

According to the document, Apple spent more than $12.6 million in attorneys' fees and about $2.5 million in non-taxable costs. UP is also facing fees resulting from its court action in Delaware.

Before becoming a licensing company, UP was an early player in mobile Internet access technology. Its patents, including claims asserted against Apple, involved methods and systems for offloading data processing operations cellphones were incapable of completing to intermediary servers. UP claims it was behind the first Wireless Application Protocol deployment and boasts a patent portfolio that includes more than 2,500 patent assets pertaining to mobile technologies.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Why do I suspect the judge will rule that Apple is trying to take advantage of the legal system due to making this request? UP should be allowed to go free since Apple has so much money and $15 million is not even a rounding error to a company such as Apple. /s
  • Reply 2 of 18

    UP screwed up.  They should have filed in East Texas.  :D

  • Reply 3 of 18
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,874member
    I believe in fairness but there are plenty people who intentionally target their time and efforts to file patents for work these companies doing without intention of producing any product, And in hope, to file litigation and win big on the success of hard work of people in these companies. So, all companies need to go after these patent trolls and buried them in ground with legal fees and court cases. People like to cheer underdog because inherently they are jealous of others success and feel happy pampering their own short comings like mystery loves company. Everyone thinks it's OK to go after Apple and skim some because few millions is no big deal for them. That's not RIGHT. Similar to let's rob rich because he/she doesn't need that much money.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    Why do I suspect the judge will rule that Apple is trying to take advantage of the legal system due to making this request? UP should be allowed to go free since Apple has so much money and $15 million is not even a rounding error to a company such as Apple. /s



    Apple trying to take advantage of the legal system? What do you think the patent trolls UP were trying to do? I hope Apple buries them in the ground. They should drag the case out forever and bankrupt these slimy bastards with legal fees....this way if they don't get a positive ruling in the courts, they'll still get a positive outcome. 

  • Reply 5 of 18
    hodarhodar Posts: 261member
    Part of the purpose of the Patent system, is to protect the inventor WHILE he takes his invention to the market. To protect an idea, and then sit on that idea and poach others who are actively trying to further technology, is the anti-thesis on which the Patent system is founded. Further, if I improve upon a patented idea, my improvement is a new patent.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member

    Apple trying to take advantage of the legal system? What do you think the patent trolls UP were trying to do? I hope Apple buries them in the ground. They should drag the case out forever and bankrupt these slimy bastards with legal fees....this way if they don't get a positive ruling in the courts, they'll still get a positive outcome. 
    Did you miss the /s at the end of leavingthebigG's post?
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Wait these trolls sued for 100s of million. The judge said their suit was frivolous and Apple is essentially suing for the costs. Seems totally fair.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    In some jurisdictions if you sue someone and lose you automatically have to pay their legal costs.

  • Reply 9 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,789member

    Evil Apple once again picking on the ‘little guy’ just like they did the ‘indie’ artists. Maybe Samsung can slap Apple down this time instead of Taylor Swift. /s

  • Reply 10 of 18
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,661member
    Hit these trolls where it hurts.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    There's the 3 month free trial money!!
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Unwired Planet truly is a patent troll.

    People still seem to think that owning a patent and seeking to get royalties from it without making anything (NPE) makes them a patent troll. This is not the case. Patents are assets and an owner is allowed to do whatever they want with their assets. Unwired Planet went far beyond that in this case using standard patent troll tactics (as mentioned in the article).
  • Reply 13 of 18

    Go get'em Apple :)

  • Reply 14 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member

    Apple trying to take advantage of the legal system? What do you think the patent trolls UP were trying to do? I hope Apple buries them in the ground. They should drag the case out forever and bankrupt these slimy bastards with legal fees....this way if they don't get a positive ruling in the courts, they'll still get a positive outcome. 

    As Runbu said, you'd be wise to learn what /s means. :rolleyes:
  • Reply 15 of 18
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Those who think this troll shouldn't be forced to pay simply because Apple has so much money should think again.

    1. Trolls make no such distinction between rich and poor. In fact, they make quite a bit of money from smaller companies who can't afford to fight them. If paying off Apple will weaken or destroy this company, all the better. They won't be able to bully little companies.

    2. Some of these trolls incorporated in ways that leave them with very few assets to grab should they lose. Apple may never see this money, although I guess it could pick up those patents.

    The second item is often the key difference between a legitimate patent holder and a troll. A troll never intends to use its patents and thus needs to make no investments. It merely lurks in the shadows, hoping a situation will develop when it can exploit what are often deliberately vague patents. If it loses in court and is required to pay, it can say, "Yah, yah, yah. I don't have any money. You won't get a penny."
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    Why do I suspect the judge will rule that Apple is trying to take advantage of the legal system due to making this request? UP should be allowed to go free since Apple has so much money and $15 million is not even a rounding error to a company such as Apple. /s



    Glad you were being sarcastic. Patent trolls, especially ones that produce nothing but paper deserve to be penalized if their attempts to get money fails.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by runbuh View Post





    Did you miss the /s at the end of leavingthebigG's post?

    my bad...I did miss it.

  • Reply 18 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    As Runbu said, you'd be wise to learn what /s means. image



    yes, i know what /s means. it was more a question of just not seeing it. 

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