Apple and Intel Sue SoftBank-Owned Firm Over 'Endless, Meritless' Patent Lawsuits

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Apple and Intel on Wednesday jointly filed a lawsuit against SoftBank-owned investment firm Fortress Investment Group, accusing the company of violating U.S. federal antitrust laws by pursuing "endless, meritless" patent litigation.

The complaint alleges that non-practicing patent assertion entities like Fortress aggressively pursue patent litigation against large companies like Apple and Intel, knowing that even if they lose several cases, they could eventually win a case with a large monetary reward that exceeds their losses.


Apple and Intel argue that Fortress-backed entities have "sought billions of dollars" from the two companies over the years, forcing both tech giants to spend "millions of dollars" on outside resources like counsel and expert witnesses to defend against Fortress-backed demands and assertions.

Fortress-backed entities like Uniloc, DSS Technology Management, and Seven Networks are also named in the lawsuit, first reported by Reuters. The complaint was filed in Northern California federal court.



Article Link: Apple and Intel Sue SoftBank-Owned Firm Over 'Endless, Meritless' Patent Lawsuits
 
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RogerWilco

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2011
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Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. 🙄
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
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Patent trolls, on the other hand, are low-life scum and villainy.
People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
 

PlayUltimate

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Jul 29, 2016
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I'm glad that this is being pursued. And with Apple and Intel leading the charge, they have the financial resources to push this forward. Regardless of the result, it will hopefully help define what is a legitimate pursuit of patent rights and what isn't. And even if Apple loses, it may put a damper on the practices of "patent trolls"
 

CHA05 R31GN5

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Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. 🙄
I think in my neck of the woods, they refer to this as, "The Pot Calling the Kettle Black". Funnily, it's only a problem of unethical practices if they didn't think of it first. I don't feel any empathy for corporations. Related to your analogy of the swimming pool, corporations created this environment.
 

chrono1081

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Jan 26, 2008
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Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. 🙄
Except this isn't at all what is happening. These companies aren't creating anything, they're using obscenely obscure patents to try and sue others to win a big payday without doing any real work. Patent trolls need to go.
- - Post merged: - -

People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
Buying patents for the sole purpose of suing others is being a patent troll. Fortress is a patent troll.
 

tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,017
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Phoenix, AZ
People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
Patent trolls aren’t companies who don’t make products with said patents, they just sue companies who are?
- - Post merged: - -

Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. 🙄
You don’t think there’s a difference between companies who make products based on their patents versus companies who use patents to sue other companies?
 

gaximus

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2011
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I think if you try and sue, and loose, you should be required to pay back the defendant all the money they spent defending themselves, including time.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
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Patent trolls aren’t companies who don’t make products with said patents, they just sue companies who are?
No, it’s not.

It’s defined as a company that produces no products using patents and the courts to extract a revenue.
So universities are patent trolls? Research hospitals are patent trolls?

How about investors left with the patents after the company they invested in goes into bankruptcy? Are they patent trolls for trying to recoup some of their investment by trying to assert those patents against the failed-companies' competitors?
 

DoctorTech

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2014
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Indianapolis, IN
People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
I have to disagree. Patents were created to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts" by granting temporary exclusivity to authors and inventors of their writings and discoveries. I don't see how allowing a 3rd party to purchase a patent and play it like a lottery by filing frivolous lawsuits helps "promote the progress of science".
 

iMi

macrumors 65816
Sep 13, 2014
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I agree with Apple. I happen to work with people who have to at times defend their patents and let me tell you, it's a dirty business. Companies can sue, knowing full well that they don't have a claim, just to delay product launch, disrupt logistics, and more importantly drain the coffers. Of course, Apple doesn't have to worry about that, but smaller companies can be bankrupted by the legal expense of defending a patent. It's ******** and frankly it's good to see Apple and Intel take a stand.