Apple Teams With Old Enemies to Fight Patent Trolls

Among tech companies, Apple has the smallest presence in Congress

Apple’s thermonuclear war on Android has thrown the company into the courtroom more times in the last five years than ever before, so in an effort to make U.S. patent laws bend to its will, Apple has joined forces with some some of its old enemies, IBM and Microsoft to form a U.S. lobbying supergroup to fight patent trolls and push new legislation through congress. 

The group is called the Partnership for American Innovation and includes other members like Ford, Pfizer, General Electric, and DuPont. It’s main concern is new legislation aimed at fighting “patent assertion entities” (ie. patent trolls) who produce nothing but rather buy up patents in an effort to extract licensing fees.

Apple and its developers have been attacked by patent trolls in the past, but the group warns that steps to stop the patent-trolls could be moving too fast and will hurt companies who are actually innovating, especially if they lose the ability to patent software and biotechnology.

A bill aimed at curbing patent litigation by trolls was supported by Google and Cisco and easily passed through the House of Representatives last December. The bill encourages judges to use a “loser pays” concept in patent cases where the losing party is stuck with winner’s legal bills.

A separate bill is scheduled to be voted on soon in the Senate, but not before Apple gets a chance to use its mountain of cash and new lobbying friends to influence it.

  • Larry M

    Also, it would be useful if the Feds weren’t handing out patents like they were jellybeans.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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