Samsung And Apple Team Up In Quest To Slay Patent Trolls

(Source: Flickr/Bgautey)

They may still be wrapped in an ongoing patent dispute, but Apple and Samsung have temporarily put aside their differences to tell the European Union that it should cut down on the ability of companies that license patents to win court rulings limiting product sales.

Apple and Samsung are just two of 19 companies and associations who put their names to the letter, which seeks to battle patent trolls who don’t manufacture actual products but instead rely entirely on license fees.

The proposal would bring the EU patent system closer to the U.S., where it’s virtually impossible for patent owners who don’t make products to block the sales based on a finding of infringement. As can be seen from the various Apple and Samsung clashes, even direct competitors in the U.S. have struggled in efforts to stop the sale of patent infringing devices.

Apple is currently being sued in Germany for $2.2 billion by IPCom GmbH over patent infringement relating to phones using the 3G wireless standard. According to Lex Machina, a subscription service used by lawyers and other legal professionals, Apple was the most-sued U.S. technology company since 2000 in terms of patents — having been sued for infringement 364 times during that period, with the majority of those suits filed in the past five years.

Patent IP disputes currently represent 18% of cross-border litigation between companies. According to a survey of lawyers and executives by the Hogan Lovells law firm, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Source: Bloomsberg