“Non-practicing entity” and “licensing entity” are the terms a federal judge in San Jose allowed Apple Inc. to use in reference to its adversary in a recent patent-infringement trial. The list of terms Apple was prohibited from using is longer:
- Bounty hunter
- Stick up
- Corporate shell game
- Paper patent
- Patent troll
A jury deliberated for two days and found in favor of Apple, rejecting the claim that the iPhone maker owed the plaintiff, GPNE Corp., $93.7 million in damages. After the trial, an Apple spokesperson nonetheless referred to the plaintiff as a “patent troll” and said the plaintiff was trying to “extort money from Apple for 20-year-old pager patents that have expired.”
Technology companies continue to urge lawmakers to reform patent law so that licensing entities that don’t actually make or sell products will have less incentive to sue companies over alleged patent infringement. We recently discussed one such case involving Adobe Systems Inc.
In 2013, there were 6,092 patent infringement lawsuits filed in the U.S., according to a report by Lex Machina, a company that analyzes legal data. That number represents an increase of 12 percent from the previous year, and 10 companies, all of which are non-practicing entities, brought nearly 13 percent of all patent infringement claims.
The Chicago Daily Herald has more on the specific claims involved in the patent dispute between Apple and GNPE.
Patents, trademarks and other intellectual property are vital to making your business competitive. If you have patent litigation concerns, then a legal team with experience in this area of law can investigate your case and help protect your rights and interests.