Apple’s pile of money is patent trolls’ favorite target

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The lesser-spotted patent troll.
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

A whopping 9 out of 10 patent lawsuits filed against tech companies in the first half of 2015 were brought by NPEs (non-practicing enterprises, a.k.a patent trolls), a new report reveals.

Thanks to its status as the world’s most valuable company, Apple was the number one target of these attempted lawsuits — with the Eastern District of Texas being the favored location for patent trials on account of their tendency to side with trolls and award large sums of damages.

Apple is accused of bullying Monster over Beats lawsuit

monster-blue-headphones-beats-apple-competition
Apple is allegedly banning Monster from making official iPhone accessories for suing Beats.
Photo: Gadget Mac/Flickr CC

Apple is accused of corporate bullying after reportedly booting rival headphone maker Monster from its “Made for iPhone” accessory program.

Monster claims the move is in retaliation for an ongoing lawsuit against Beats, which is now owned by Apple. Monster was the original contract manufacturer of Beats-branded headphones. The move could seriously impact Monster’s headphone business.

Considering the headphone market is a $2 billion industry in the United States, there’s plenty of money to be lost without Apple’s support.

Ericsson takes lawsuit against Apple to Europe, wants up to $725 million per year

Apple is splurging on R&D.
Apple could be about to hand over a whole lot of cash. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Claiming that Apple is infringing on several of its patents, Ericsson has ramped up its legal efforts against the company by expanding lawsuits to cover Germany, Britain and the Netherlands.

“Apple continues to profit from Ericsson’s technology without having a valid license in place,” said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, adding that he is confident the courts will resolve the matter fairly.

New lawsuit offers another clue that Apple is building an electric car

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Your Apple Car is running out of charge. Please plug it into a Lightning charger as soon as possible. Photo: Apple
Your Apple Car is running out of battery charge. Please plug it into a Lightning charger as soon as possible. Photo: Apple

Given that Apple can’t make an iPhone with a battery life of more than (best case scenario) a couple of days, how would it ever manage with a far more power-intensive technology like, say, an electric car?

It seems that this is exactly the question being asked in Cupertino — and the attempt to answer it has landed Apple with a new lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Massachusetts federal court.

As per the complaint, back in June last year, Apple reportedly began an “aggressive campaign” to poach top engineers from the electric car battery maker A123 Systems. The engineers were responsible for performing critical development and testing activities on cutting-edge electric vehicle batteries.