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

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Apple wants patent trolls to stop ‘gaming the system’
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 2015's most litigated against company.
Apple is 2015’s most litigated against company.
Photo: Unified Patents

Actavis, Amazon, HP and Mylan Pharmaceuticals were also regularly-named companies targeted by patent trolls. The number of NPE lawsuits increased by 11 percent since the previous year.

Fortunately there is some evidence things may be starting to turn around. Recently we’ve heard reports that the U.S. Senate has begun working on a possible patent law reform that would make it harder for trolls to extort money from proper practising companies.

Apple recently also had a $532.9 million damages award (in East Texas, natch!) recalculated because the judge admitted that jurors may have been confused about how to properly work out royalties. Apple’s lawyers had argued that jurors were unable to distinguish between patented and unpatented features.

Apple has previously argued that NPEs make no products, employee few or no people, create no jobs, and exploit the U.S. patent system to seek royalties for technology invented, most often, by Apple.

An overhaul of the system is desperately needed!

Source: Unified Patents