While prepping for another multi-billion dollar patent infringement claim in Europe, Apple is joining with Google and other tech companies in asking the United States Supreme Court to allow stiffer penalties against patent trolls who bring frivolous lawsuits.
Apple will square off next week against German patent monetization firm IPCom in a $2 billion battle over a standards-essential wireless patent, according toFOSS Patents, the latest in a long line of patent-related legal skirmishes fought by the iPhone maker over the last three years. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has faced 92 patent suits in the U.S. alone during that time, with nearly half of those still unresolved.
While the above case will be tried in Germany, Apple has high hopes that future litigation on its home turf will come with costs that may make patent trolls think twice before filing a lawsuit.
“Apple has rarely lost on the merits,” the company said in a brief filed with the Supreme Court and obtained by Bloomberg. “But victory figures as small consolation because in every one of these cases, Apple has been forced to bear its legal fees.”
Apple is joining with Google, Yahoo, Intel, Cisco, and Facebook in asking the court to make it easier for companies that successfully defend themselves against frivolous patent claims to collect legal feels from the filing company.
The court will be weighing just that issue in two cases it will hear in the coming weeks.
Federal courts currently allow companies to collect legal fees if the suit is found to be “objectively baseless” and filed in bad faith. Apple and the other firms are seeking to have that altered, allowing them to pursue legal fees when a company “unreasonably pursues a case having an objectively low likelihood of success.”
Apple claims to have over 200 intellectual property claims that are still pending, and has two attorneys on staff whose sole responsibility is to respond to such claims.