Exactly one month ago, we covered a wild lawsuit in Germany brought by a patent troll for the hefty sum of just over $2 billion. A few days ago, Germany swatted the trolls out of court. Meanwhile, after Samsung was found guilty of releasing confidential Apple documents, its is back in court with some new twists.
When patent trolls are hungry, they reach for Apple. And when they do, they often get fed. In the bizarre world of US patent law, even when your case has little merit, you're probably going to get paid anyway.
The man who sued Apple because he hated Siri has had his day in court, and was told by the judge to basically go home and never come back. At least, not with this case. If, however, you're willing to sue a company because beta software has bugs and you don't feel like returning the item that uses it, well, who knows what you'll sue over next?
We are just a few weeks away from the second major Apple v. Samsung trial to happen in Northern California, but we still haven't wrapped up the first one. Why does Samsung think they should get a re-trial of the last re-trial, and what does the judge think of all of this?
It's the intellectual property world we live in: companies that do nothing but buy and sell patents try to get rich quick in court by bullying the actual innovators and technology leaders. When one of these patent trolls files a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Apple over technology that was originally invented for car phones, is it a sign that the problem has really gone too far?
A few days ago, Google and Samsung announced a surprising 10-year global patent licensing agreement. Mostly it was surprising because Samsung suing Google for patent infringement is about as likely as you suing your parents for patent infringement. So why bother? To attempt to make Apple look bad, and thereby prove the point that nothing is going to change anytime soon.
A judge orders Apple to let her friend investigate every aspect of the company and then pay him for it. When another court looks askance at that arrangement and suspends it, the judge defends her original decision by using the "if you've done nothing wrong, you've nothing to hide" logic. Really? Meanwhile, Samsung only wants to settle out of court if they do not have to promise to stop copying Apple. True story, though you might not believe it. Read on.
Last July, Apple lost an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice. The lawsuit, initiated by Amazon, was a little odd from the beginning, what with the presiding judge announcing before the trial that she fully expected Apple to lose. Everything seemed to happen exactly the way Amazon needed it to happen; U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled against Apple, and included some very harsh sentencing that should help Amazon regain much of its lost eBook monopoly. But Apple is not giving up that easily.
Google formed with an internal motto of "Don't Be Evil" in response to the perceived business practices of Microsoft, and then proceeded over the years to manipulate customer data (see what Google does when you search) and force software on users (see how you are already signed up for Google+) much like Redmond. Now the Mountain View company is taking hypocrisy to a new level with their latest lawsuit against the Apple- and Microsoft-led Rockstar Consortium. Ah, the irony!
This past year has been full of courtroom drama for Apple, and we've done our best to keep you up to speed each week in our Law & Apple column. From the hot mess of a trial against the Justice Department regarding eBook conspiracies, to the ongoing Patent Wars with Samsung, to the zany lawsuits brought by people trying to get rich quick. Suffice it to say, there has been no shortage of material. But which stories did you like the best? You might be surprised.