Apple and Google team up in court to curb patent abuse


Apple and Google, along with 13 other companies, have teamed up in an effort to reduce patent abuse by “patent trolls,” who file frivolous suits against big and small companies in the hope of signing licensing deals.

The group of companies has urged the court to make it easy to collect attorney fees from the patent-owners if they end up losing:

Apple Inc. and Google Inc., saying they’re tired of being slapped with frivolous patent suits that cost millions of dollars in legal fees, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let them hit back.

The technology companies are leading a group of firms urging the court to make it easier to collect attorneys’ fees from patent-holders who lose infringement suits. In two cases to be argued this month, the justices for the first time will consider the rules that govern fee awards in patent litigation.

Big companies like Apple and Google are prime targets for “frivolous” patent suits, with Apple having been sued over 190 times in the past five years by “patent-assertion entities.” The patent-assertion entities, of course, say that Apple and Google and exaggerating the problem, and claim that most suits are legitimate.

This news comes in the midst of a suit between Apple and IPCom, a German patent firm. Apple could possibly have to pay up to $2 billion in damages, if it is found guilty of infringing IPCom’s wireless patent.

[via Bloomberg]