German patent troll hits Apple with $2+ billion claim over standards-essential patent

By , Feb 5, 2014

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Apple and its billions are definitely the favorite target of patent trolls around the world and this newest case just exemplifies the fact. IPCom GmbH, a German patent holding firm, is suing Apple for patent infringement and is seeking north of $2 billion in damages over the use of a standards-essential wireless patent pertaining to an emergency service standard.

The use of the emergency service standard is required by law in many countries around the world! A trial in this case is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11, before Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court…

The Wall Street Journal reports that IPCom in 2007 bought a patent from Robert Bosch GmbH for a technology that gives emergency calls priority on mobile networks. IPCom has been suing other handset makers like Nokia and HTC for several years in the Mannheim court and it’s won various rulings.

Another hurdle Apple is facing now: the European Patent Office last month rejected requests from Apple, Nokia, HTC, Vodafone and Ericsson to declare the patent invalid.

IPCom is seeking more than €1.57 billion, or about $2.12 billion in monetary damages, plus prejudgment interest.

And why exactly is this patent so important?

The technology gives handsets access to the networks of various mobile telecommunications providers. It is particularly vital for emergency services and police because it gives them priority access if networks are overloaded.

To make matters worse, the use of this technology is required by law and mandated by the UMTS and LTE wireless standards.

According to FOSS Patents, IPCom has brought these charges against Apple’s Irish-based subsidiary handling its European sales and the company’s German retail subsidiary based in Frankfurt.

As part of his recent meeting with government officials, CEO Tim Cook paid a visit to Apple’s local office in Ireland, the company’s first office outside of the United States.

Fo those wondering: yes, IPCom is a patent troll. Rather than make products, the company simply buys patents in order to claim royalties on them.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/matthewmspace matthewmspace

    This argument should be thrown out of court immediately.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Exactly. If Apple gets charged for infringing this patent when it is most definitely a standard essential patent that could put peoples lives at risk if it didn’t exist then I’m pretty sure all hell will break loose…

    • Your Mother

      why? apple uses patents all the time without paying for them while suing over the slightest of things like the color of an icon.

  • Rowan09

    If it’s a standard, how can they sue unless Apple deliberately refused to pay them a standard fee?

    • Sandy Cook

      Apple’s policy is to refuse license fees

      • Rowan09

        Source? They license patents from my understanding through HTC and Nokia to name 2.

  • iBanks

    The way I see this, If it is required by law to be implemented, then there shouldn’t be an opening for law suits

  • Burge

    “The use of the emergency service standard is required by law in many countries around the world!”
    If it’s required by law then this patent is utter bollocks, it’s law. You can not force a company to pay on this..

  • DopamineAddicted

    Patent Trolls should be charged with extortion

    • Your Mother

      exactly, nothing worse than a company that tries to ban entire product lines because they claim ownership over rectangles with rounded corners.

  • Your Mother

    I don’t understand how you can be sued for using something that is required by law–unless they asked for payment and it was refused.

    still, if this tech is required by law then law should require that it be free or dirt cheap.