Apple and Intel Sue SoftBank-Owned Firm Over 'Endless, Meritless' Patent Lawsuits

Apple and Intel on Wednesday jointly filed a lawsuit against SoftBank-owned investment firm Fortress Investment Group, accusing the company of violating U.S. federal antitrust laws by pursuing "endless, meritless" patent litigation.

The complaint alleges that non-practicing patent assertion entities like Fortress aggressively pursue patent litigation against large companies like Apple and Intel, knowing that even if they lose several cases, they could eventually win a case with a large monetary reward that exceeds their losses.

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Apple and Intel argue that Fortress-backed entities have "sought billions of dollars" from the two companies over the years, forcing both tech giants to spend "millions of dollars" on outside resources like counsel and expert witnesses to defend against Fortress-backed demands and assertions.

Fortress-backed entities like Uniloc, DSS Technology Management, and Seven Networks are also named in the lawsuit, first reported by Reuters. The complaint was filed in Northern California federal court.

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Top Rated Comments

Lord Hamsa Avatar
61 months ago
Patents are a good an necessary means to encourage innovation.

Patent trolls, on the other hand, are low-life scum and villainy.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stephen.R Avatar
61 months ago

But it's an ill-defined term.
No, it’s not.

It’s defined as a company that produces no products using patents and the courts to extract a revenue.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrono1081 Avatar
61 months ago

Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. ?
Except this isn't at all what is happening. These companies aren't creating anything, they're using obscenely obscure patents to try and sue others to win a big payday without doing any real work. Patent trolls need to go.


People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
Buying patents for the sole purpose of suing others is being a patent troll. Fortress is a patent troll.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RogerWilco Avatar
61 months ago
Apple, like every other large corporation, uses its patent portfolio to great advantage. They threaten, coerce, and force deals because smaller companies cannot afford to litigate. Now Apple complains the pool they are swimming in has dirty water. ?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DoctorTech Avatar
61 months ago

People throw around the term "patent trolls" a lot. But it's an ill-defined term.

I don't really consider Fortress, the subject of this article, to be a patent troll because they buy actually valuable patents and assert those patents against big companies like Apple trying to get the actual royalties they are due for those patents. Basically, if there is a real economic analysis behind the action and they're willing to go all the way to trial, they're not a troll.

To me, a patent troll is a firm that buys bottom-of-the-barrell, likely-invalid, patents and asserts them against small entities that cannot afford a fulsome defense, and they seek cost-of-litigation or nuisance settlements. Basically, a shake-down.
I have to disagree. Patents were created to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts" by granting temporary exclusivity to authors and inventors of their writings and discoveries. I don't see how allowing a 3rd party to purchase a patent and play it like a lottery by filing frivolous lawsuits helps "promote the progress of science".
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blcamp Avatar
61 months ago
It's high time they fight back, as those fees are being passed on to the consumer. Yes, stealing IP is bad, defending IP is good yet expensive; but abusing the process as patent trolls do, has got to stop.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)