back to article Apple beats off troll in German patent fracas

A court in Mannheim, Germany, has ruled in Apple's favor in a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by patent troll non-practicing entity IPCom of Munich. The patents in question were European patent EP1841268 and German patent DE19910239, both acquired by IPCom from Bosch in 2007 along with hundreds of others, and both related to …

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Stop

Stop Patent Trolls

Patent trolls are like fascist dictators - if they are not stopped early they will destroy all progress.

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Re: Stop Patent Trolls

"IPCom's story has come to an end,"

Good! Let's hope so!

Is there anything a patent troll does that is useful?

They seem to belong to the same social group as landlords whoturn old ladies out into the snow for being ten minutes late with the rent.

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Anonymous Coward

>"to establish a bridge"

The kind of bridge under which trolls are known to live, no doubt. They really didn't think that metaphor through.

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Re: >"to establish a bridge"

...also implies that something will cross said bridge - in this case one might expect, from their self-description, that it would be cash crossing the bridge and falling into the pockets of the patent developers.

Is there, or has there ever been, any sign of such a hypothetical dosh flow? No? Didn't think so.

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"We are more than astonished by the dismissal especially because this court, just like other courts in Germany and the UK, found a myriad of infringements of the 100A patent,"

Translation: "Damn, didn't see that coming, we were sure we were going to win. Clearly the court is wrong because it didn't agree with us"

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Pirate

Yeah,

Makes me wonder- who's running IPCom? Darl McBribe?

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Cognitive dissonance

Across El Reg, commentards' heads are exploding at having to celebrate an Apple court-win.

"Yay! A patent troll lost!"

"But... That means Apple won..."

"But... Patent troll lost..."

"But... Apple won..."

"But... Paten..."

"But... Ap..."

*BOOM*

"Well, what did you expect...? American companies ALWAYS win in American cour... It was where...?"

*BOOM*

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Re: Cognitive dissonance

Actually , for most of us, it was one of those court cases where we wish both sides could lose

Boris

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Anonymous Coward

The whole point of a patent is that it allows the innovator time to reap the rewards of their innovation. IPCom can't be called an innovator, they don't produce anything, they don't use a single one of the technologies they have patents for. Their only purpose is to stop others innovating, by blocking use of ideas, unless the person who does us the idea pays them some protection money. They're operating nothing more than a combination of a numbers game, and a protection racket. I'm fairly sure both of them are banned in most countries.

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Have an upvote for sensible

But this is a court case so I may take it back.

If the appeal goes through in the troll's favour, I hope the judges are allowed to say how much actual production/sales value the patent is to the company.

(That too sounds unfortunately sensible.)

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Re: Have an upvote for sensible

The troll's should only get compensation if they originated the patent or are actually producing goods via that patent.

That keeps innovation rolling.

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"Not that a two-billion bite would have damaged Apple all that much"

Considering that's just what they were asking for in GERMANY, where AFAIK iPhones don't sell in particularly large numbers, the bite they'd take when they got around to suing for infringement in the US, Japan, China and other large iPhone markets would have pretty much drained Apple's cash pile down to zero.

I wonder how many iPhones have sold in Germany from 2007, and how that compares to the amount these guys were suing for. It sounds like they thought their technology was so valuable that they deserved every penny of profit from the sale of every iPhone! They must feel their technology is 100x more important than any patents Apple licenses, such as the multitude of 3G, LTE, MP3, h.264 and so on patents that go for less than a penny per phone per patent. Sounds like they're a bit full of themselves.

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Re: "Not that a two-billion bite would have damaged Apple all that much"

I suspect that as it was a European court and a European patent, a win in Germany would have asked for EU-wide damages, or at least helped them claim damages in other EU countries on the strength of the German verdict.

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Re: "Not that a two-billion bite would have damaged Apple all that much"

"a win in Germany would have asked for EU-wide damages"

ISTR it being part of EU rules that a win in one EU country is a win in all or at least a very strong indicator of wins across the EU. I'm sure there was a El Reg article stating that sometime recently. Not being a patent lawyer I wasn't really taking all that much notice though.

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Def
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Unhappy

"Apple beats off troll"

Oh the horrible images that brings to mind.

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Re: "Apple beats off troll"

Yeah I read that and thought "Actually, sounds like the troll won"

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A Troll Bridge

...founded in 2007 "to establish a bridge between patent developers and patent users."

Which naturally they live under.

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"to establish a bridge between patent developers and patent users."

That indicates that they are acting as agents to help patent owners get their just rewards which could make them one of the good guys if done right. But it seems they are only buying in patents and then trying to monetize the now-owned patents. That makes them trolls since their whole business model is to make money by suing everyone in sight.

Maybe there should be some test of "reasonableness" whereby a patent not being enforced within some time frame is deemed to have expired. For example, you can be reasonably expected to have started negotiations or court proceedings against a company with a high profile such that you really ought to know they are "infringing" before the sueball turns into £££billions and the product has been on the market for years.

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