A German court has dismissed damage claims of $2 billion (€1.57 billion) over Apple's alleged infringement of a European patent. IPCom, a German company that regularly licenses patents, sought the damages by arguing that a patent it owns is essential to 3G and LTE devices. Germany's Mannheim Regional Court dismissed the case, and also dismissed a similar case between IPCom and HTC.
The rulings are a significant setback for IPCom, a company that owns 1,200 patents related to mobile technologies. While IPCom will undoubtedly appeal the cases, the company has been trying to sue HTC unsuccessfully for years. IPCom has previously agreed to license its patents on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms, but it's also been a courtroom regular. Patent EP 1 841 268 has also been used to sue Nokia, among others, too. The patent covers a technology that allows a device to receive priority on a network in the event of an emergency, even if the network is congested.
Like many of its patents, IPCom acquired this one from another company, Bosch. Its primary business is licensing these mobile communication patents to manufacturers in the industry. While Deutsche Telekom settled for licensing, it appears Apple, Nokia, HTC, and others will continue to challenge the patent troll in a battle that’s unlikely to cease anytime soon.