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Patent Troll Sues Apple – Film at Eleven
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  • March 21, 2013
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4421756246_fd72d50661[1]There’s a news story going around today that Apple is being sued (again) by a patent troll. I read about it at Forbes:

Software developer Intertrust Technologies filed a patent infringement suit against Apple over 15 patents related to security.

The lawsuit covers almost all  of Apple’s products and services, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, Apple TV,  iTunes, iCloud, and the Apple App Store.

Could someone please tell me how this is news? I just don’t see it.

As far as I am concerned there are exactly 3 things worth saying about patent lawsuits. The first is that the vast majority are filed by patent trolls and have no merit. The case mentioned above is almost certainly in that group.

The second important detail about patent lawsuits is that they aren’t important. They happen all the time, and pretty much any major tech company has been sued numerous times. Check the 10-q statement for Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, anyone. They’ll all mention patent infringement lawsuits. These lawsuits are so common that their absence would be noteworthy.

And the third important detail is that the fact this troll has won in the past does not prove that it has a valid case. It is equally likely that previous defendants decided that settling was cheaper than fighting the lawsuit in court.

Just to be clear, I see all patent lawsuits as ipso facto trolling until proven otherwise. And that goes for even legitimate tech companies. There’s a big difference between developing a tech and selling it vs shaking down someone who happened to come up with the same idea.

The only newsworthy detail in this lawsuit is why it got coverage at all. My guess is that someone had an axe to grind, owed a favor, or perhaps this is part of a plan to diddle with Apple’s stock price. The lawsuit certainly is not news.

image by darkuncle

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