Apple and Intel file antitrust lawsuit against investment firm that stockpiles patents


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Turns out that patents are big business.
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Apple and Intel have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Fortress Investment Group, claiming that the investment management group is stockpiling patents. It then allegedly uses these patents to demand as much as $5.1 billion in lawsuits filed against tech firms.

Both Apple and Intel are accusing the firm of stockpiling patents, despite it not actually making any tech products. They claim this is in violation of United States antitrust laws.

“Apple has suffered economic harm in the form of litigation costs and diversion of resources away from innovation to respond to these entities’ serial nuisance suits,” Apple wrote in its complaint.

Antitrust suit by Apple and Intel

Apple and Intel made the filing on Wednesday. In it, Apple noted that firms connected to Fortress had filed more than 25 lawsuits against Apple. They were demanding between $2.6-$5.1 billion in damages from Cupertino. Two of the firms are Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg. The two companies claim they are entitled to damages, valued at up to $2.75 per Apple product sold. This would bring total damages to a maximum of $732 million. However, Apple calls them out on their math.

“The apparent precision of the per-unit damages request is a facade; Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg simply adopted the amounts that Apple sought from Samsung in litigation for Apple’s patents,” Apple wrote.

Apple is frequently targeted by companies looking to enforce patents. That’s presumably because of Apple’s size, which makes a possible win against Apple in court (or via settlement) very valuable.

The owner of Fortress Investment Group is Japanese firm SoftBank. SoftBank acquired the firm back in 2017. Apple is one of the investors in SoftBank’s $100 million fund, which seeks to invest in promising startups. Recently the fund published its first quarterly loss of $8.9 billion.

Source: Reuters