Not sure if you’ve noticed this, but a grand majority of the lawsuits we’ve heard about in the last couple of years have included Apple. As a matter of fact, it’s usually Apple that has sued its competitors over any sort of patent infringement that the company has felt affects its interests. What is hard to believe though, is that Apple is now complaining about patent trolls, and actually doing so publicly.
Apple’s lawyers publicly stated in a recent FTC filing that: “Apple has rarely lost on the merits. But victory figures are small consolation, because in every one of these cases, Apple has been forced to bear its legal fees. This reality is the lifeblood of the patent assertion industry… Indeed, the opening line of many negotiations is some form of, “What we’re asking for is less than it will cost you to litigate this case to judgment.” It should come as no surprise, then, that despite its success in litigating the merits, for business purposes Apple has agreed to a settlement in 51 of the 57 closed cases.”
Apple’s lawyers were particularly direct about Lodsys, which if you remember is the company that claims to hold the In-App Purchase patent that Apple uses on its App Store. This company has been famous for litigating only against those companies that can’t cover the legal fees needed. In the statement the lawyers claimed that: “Lodsys scuttled away, settling with each of the developers for a pittance, thereby mooting Apple’s attempted intervention and avoiding a sure loss on the merits… Lodsys has no compunctions about this strategy. It will keep moving from developer to developer, leeching whatever royalties it can until a party with the resources to litigate scares it away.”
It’s just hard to understand why Apple is so upset about the results of its own doing. Apple’s patents have been famous for being so generic, that they leave too competitors little room to innovate, and therefore making these companies an easy target for a lawsuit. Hopefully this will help the company relax on its litigation policy.