Apple Blasts Patent Trolls in Recent Court Filings
Two recent court filings made by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed that the company is pushing back against litigious patent enforcement entities that are commonly referred to as “patent trolls.” The California-based company criticized what it called “Patent Assertion Entities,” or PAEs, in two friend-of-the-court briefs recently uncovered by the Los Angeles Times.
Per the Los Angeles Times, the briefs were filed in two separate cases that are currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. “PAEs do not invent, manufacture or sell any product,” wrote Apple in one of the briefs. “Many of them do nothing more than acquire vague patents, and then use litigation or the threat of litigation to negotiate royalties that are far larger than what the patents warrant.”
The newspaper also uncovered a letter about PAEs that Apple wrote to the Federal Trade Commission in December. According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple claimed it was the No. 1 target of PAE lawsuits, with ninety-two in the last three years. Apple also noted that it had already resolved fifty-seven of the ninety-two cases brought against it. Fifty-one cases were settled out-of-court to avoid legal costs, while six other cases were dropped or defeated in court. In the letter, Apple claimed that there were 250 PAEs in existence.
Although it is not clear how Apple determined if a company qualified as a PAE, other organizations have estimated that Apple has been targeted even more often. PatentFreedom — an organization that tracks lawsuits filed by non-practicing entities – calculated that Apple has been targeted 129 times in the last three years. According to PatentFreedom, an NPE is a company that derives “the majority of its revenue from the licensing or enforcement of its intellectual property.”