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


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.