patent

Demands from patent trolls - companies that invent nothing, but simply buy up patents in order to demand cash – are just a fact of life for any large company, and Apple doubtless receives hundreds of them each year. Some are, however, audacious than others.

The WSJ reports that German patent troll IPCom is demanding €1.57B ($2.12B) for use technology that is not only used in every mobile phone on the market, its use is required by law.

The chip is used to identify mobile phones used by the emergency services in order to give them priority access to networks when they are heavily congested, such as during a major disaster. Carriers can set their networks to block access to all phones in the vicinity of a major emergency other than those identifying themselves as belonging to police and rescue workers. The chip can be included in the circuitry of either a phone or a SIM.

Apple, Google, HTC, Ericsson and Vodafone had all asked the European Patent Office to declare the patent invalid, as it was part of a required standard. The EPO turned down this request after IPCom said that it had successfully sued other companies, including Nokia.

The case is now going to court, and will be heard on 11th February.

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3 Responses to “German patent troll demands $2B from Apple for using a mandatory emergency phone standard”

  1. Travis Cohen says:

    Scum bag Patent trolls strike again.

  2. They are not a patent troll. Patent trolls demand money from people to avoid litigation they can’t afford to fight in court. Anyone who sues Apple can’t possibly expect to bully them into a licensing fee to avoid the cost of defending themselves in court. Apple has $156B in the bank the last time I checked, they can afford a lawyer or two.

    These guys think they have a valid and enforceable patent that will stand up in court. Why would you label them trolls?

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      My view of a patent troll is a company that doesn’t invent anything but simply buys patents with the intention of suing companies who they hope will choose to settle as the path of least resistance.