IPCom Stories February 28, 2014

Court dismisses $2B patent troll claim against Apple for emergency feature in iPhones

A German court has dismissed a $2B patent claim by IPCom against Apple for use of a standard which is a mandatory feature in all cellphones. As we reported earlier this month:

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.

IPCom claimed a patent on the technology, but Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court dismissed the claim, along with a similar one against HTC.

This is, however, unlikely to be the end of it. IPCom has a record of appealing such rulings, and attempting to charge for patents purchased from other companies is its primary source of revenue. The company owns more than a thousand mobile-related patents.

IPCom Stories February 5, 2014

German patent troll demands $2B from Apple for using a mandatory emergency phone standard

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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