Apple is no stranger to lawsuits and with all the cash its been making the past few years, the lawsuits from patent trolls have been piling up. According to a new study on lawsuits from non practicing entities (patent trolls), Apple got slammed with more patent lawsuits (171 total) in the last five years than any other company.
Rounding out the top most targeted companies were Hewlett-Packard (137 lawsuits), Samsung (133), AT&T (127), and Dell (122). The number of lawsuits filed against Apple has increased over 60 percent, from 27 lawsuits in 2009 to 44 in 2012.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the patent trolls are ready to let up on Apple. This year could be Apple’s most litigious yet, if the number of lawsuits filed against the company remains consistent with those from the first half of 2013.
Suing to keep your competitors from stealing your product is one thing, but the problem with NPEs is that they aren’t manufacturing anything. They’re just developing a process and patenting it, or buying and licensing patents to sit on and wait for the opportunity to sue big corporations.
Sadly, there’s tons of money in patent trolling. Average licensing costs for a case that goes to trial is $7.5 million, and if you settle out of court the average cost is $29.75 million.
Patent trolls have a 24.1 percent success rate in cases lately, so TechHive’s Mark Hachman crunched the numbers and found that “the ‘net discounted value’ of an NPE suit is $800,000; i.e., it’s likely that the suit itself will net at least that much just by being filed.”