back to article Apple tops target list for litigious patent trolls

Apple has gained the dubious honor of being the top target for patent trolls, or to give them their polite title, Non-Practicing Entities (NPE). Patent Freedom, a collection of companies that monitor the booming NPE industry, reports that in 2012 Cupertino topped the list for patent litigation with 44 cases brought and another …


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  1. bazza Silver badge

    Aiming at the cash

    This is not entirely surprising. The patent trolls will naturally go for the wealthier companies, and they don't get much wealthier than Apple. The richer they are the less significant the consequences of just paying up. There's no point suing a close-to-bankrupt company, there'd be no profit in it.

    Of course, Apple's own litigious tendencies will probably mean that there won't be much sympathy...

    1. Dr?

      Re: Just trying to protect their balliwick

      It'd make an interesting read to find out how patent trolling can affect smaller companies though. Apple can afford to pay up but I wonder if there are any companies that have had to cease trading because of the practice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just trying to protect their balliwick

        I think smaller companies are the ones who create the new ideas and patent them. This is the intention of the patent system, to allow small companies to emerge and not have big companies steal their ideas.

        Of course, as soon as the large companies got on the patent bandwagon the whole point of the system was rendered useless. I'd remove access to the patent system to any large companies, but this would probably further limit their "innovation".

      2. Tom 13

        Re: had to cease trading because of the practice.

        That's counter-productive to the patent troll. It's more like any other protection money racket: you don't want the shrooms going out of business, you just want a significant cut of their business money coming to you.

    2. LarsG

      Re: Aiming at the cash

      Yes it is always better to sue those with the most cash in the bank, there's no point in going for those who have none is there?

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Aiming at the cash

      No, the richer companies don't necessarily make the best targets for trolling. The risk with Apple is that they have the money to fight the suit. The prime target is a small to medium sized company with a mid-range profitability. You target them with a settlement fee of about 2/3 the mean cost of defense. Since they save 1/3 of the expected cost and eliminate the measurable risk of the defense greatly exceeding the mean, they'll be more prone to settle quickly. At which point you can move to your next target.

      Now, and NPE does not have to be equal to a patent troll. I could theoretically see an entity structured that way to enable people who come up with good ideas but don't have the capital to enter manufacturing to profit from their ideas. I don't know if any of the current NPEs are such companies. I would expect their behavior to be different from a patent troll. For trolls I'd see the tactic described above to be their primary and likely even only modus operandi. I'd expect legitimate entities to engage in more sales negotiations on behalf of their clients. So I think it's that behavior that needs to be targeted. I don't see that any of the proposed changes do that, although I can see their proponents believe they will.

    4. despairing citizen

      Re: Aiming at the cash/ there won't be much sympathy...

      Oh Yes

      I’m just sitting back and smiling at the karma repayment schedule

  2. cyke1

    Yea NPE Patent trolls and Apple are 2 sides of the same coin. Both are patent trolls but in reality apple hasn't done anything since 2010 cept their normal year updates which are barely even updates anyway.

  3. Bob Vistakin
    Big Brother

    You're suing us wrong

    Think Different

    1. Neil Greatorex

      Re: You're suing us wrong

      I'm sure you'll get upvoted as, generally, sheeple do tend to run with the herd. I'll probably be massively downvoted, however here goes: Please stop:

      "You're <insert whatever the fuck you like here> it wrong"

      It was moderately funny for a week after the Polo-Necked twat responded to the original complainants email, but not now.

      Please desist.

      My next lecture is at the Wigmore Hall

      1. Cliff

        Re: You're suing us wrong

        ^^^ Lost me at 'sheeple'

        When it's used in an argument, it makes the user look a bit extremist (and a little bit mental) which then devalues anything else they follow it with. Just a tip for the future.


      2. Rukario

        Re: You're suing us wrong

        Sheeple come in flocks, not herds.

      3. Bob Vistakin

        Re: You're suing us wrong

        The irony of a fanboi calling Android fans "Sheeple"?

        There's an app for that.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're suing us wrong

          Bob. It must be hard going through life being as stupid as you clearly are. In fact, it fairly impressive that you can type. Still, copy/pasting from scripts sent to you by Samsung can't be that hard for you mouth-breathers. Anyhoo - pleasantries aside - the fact that the original idiot referred to Jobs as a 'Polo-Necked twat' suggests he too is a fandroid, just like you.

  4. Neil Greatorex

    Bloody hell

    This is the title:

    "Apple's tops target list for litigious patent trolls"

    Whatever happened to the English language?

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Bloody hell

      "Whatever happened to the English language?"

      Simple really, somewhere along the way a dappy selfie of someone with a fauxhawk twerking was taken with a phablet and posted to hackerspace that srsly made me squeeing until I realized it was FIL which made me vom.

      When do we get a "Won't someone think of the adults!" icon?

      1. Neil Greatorex

        Re: Bloody hell

        Parsing error, unable to parse "complete bollocks above" REDO from start...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Big-nosed Pengie

      Re: Bloody hell

      "Whatever happened to the English language?"

      The USA.

    3. zemerick

      Re: Bloody hell

      The English language happened.

      It's always been this way. Just look at Shakespeare. He invented dozens of words and tons of phrases.

      Not saying the previous "apple's tops..." doesn't bug me too, just that all sorts of changes have been going on for centuries, and have led to the rather miserable language we have today.

      There, their, they're. <sigh> That should not happen in a language.

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Bloody hell

        Sorry my time machine is in for service at the moment so unable to check the Shakespeare reference.

        English is a very fluid language, taking in, dropping and modifying words and their usage with reckless abandon.

        Did Shakespeare really invent words, or did he make use of only partially defined letter combinations in ways and contexts that we now find unusual?

        How about rays, raise, raze, two of which are in direct opposition to each other.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Did Shakespeare really invent words,

          It seems reasonable to believe he did. Granted you are correct about needing the time machine to prove the statement, but as I recall there is exactly one word in the EOD for which the only reference in the archives is to one of his plays. At the moment I don't recall what that word is, and am unlikely to find it with a Google search.

    4. Woodgar

      Re: Bloody hell

      Maybe the patent trolls are upset at a new line of attire (Apple's tops) that Apple are coming out with?

    5. Tom 13

      Re: Whatever happened to the English language?

      1) The public school system.

      2) The NEA on the 'Merkin side of the pond. I'm sure there is an equivalent on yours.

      1. arrbee

        Re: Whatever happened to the English language?

        I thought the whole point of public school was to excel in communication - with ones peers, of course.

  5. banjomike
    Thumb Up

    Apple's tops target list for litigious patent trolls

    I thought it said "Apple tops list OF litigious patent trolls"

    1. Neil Greatorex

      Re: Apple's tops target list for litigious patent trolls

      Nope, it says what it says and it's appalling grammar.

  6. john devoy


    I'd feel sorry for Apple but they abuse the patent system so much maybe it's Karma.

    1. auburnman

      Re: karma?

      That's the other reason Apple are more likely to settle than fight; they run a risk of their own legal team setting a precedent that could come back to bite them in the arse in cases against Samsung and the like if they ever decided to swat a few flies in court.

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    If you pay up they will keep coming back for more

    the number of companies that settle dubious claims because the cost of fighting them greatly outweighs any fee they might have to pay.

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

    But we've proved it again and again,

    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

    You never get rid of the Dane.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: If you pay up they will keep coming back for more

      Sadly, too few people on either side of the pond keep up with their Kipling these days.

  8. TheDillinquent


    'Nuff said

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