John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Patent Trolls Love Apple

Troll2An unfortunate byproduct of being an iconic consumer electronics company sitting on a vast pile of cash: You’re an obvious target for patent-holding companies looking to make a quick buck.

Which is precisely the position Apple finds itself in these days. According to PatentFreedom, which tracks some 710 intellectual-property profiteers, Apple has been on the receiving end of 171-patent troll lawsuits in the past five years: 27 in 2009, 34 in 2010, 42 in 2011, 44 in 2012, and 24 in 2013 — which isn’t even over yet.

One hundred and seventy-one suits. That’s more than any other company in tech, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

PatentFreedom_Patent_troll_suits

That’s a significant amount of nuisance litigation for Apple, a company whose legal team is busy waging far more important wars. Little wonder that CEO Tim Cook takes such a dim view of patent-infringement suits, dismissing them as “a pain in the ass” at our D10 conference.

“It’s maddening. It’s a waste. It’s a time suck,” Cook said of patent litigation. “Does it stop innovation? Well, it’s not going to stop us, but it’s overhead. I wish we could settle this stuff.”

Video of his remarks in full, below:


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