Apple facing $2bn patent lawsuit in Germany

Summary:Patent-licensing firm IPCom claims Apple is infringing on its mobile technology patents.

In Germany next week, Apple will have to defend itself against a patent lawsuit which could potentially cost the company over $2bn.

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In the lawsuit — which is for approximately €1.57bn in damages, plus interest — German patent-licensing company IPCom claims that Apple’s products infringe on a mobile patent that it owns.

Specifically, the patent covers "how access from mobile phones can be controlled in congested wireless channels," according to a statement from a regional court in Mannheim, where the lawsuit is filed.

Previously, Apple — along with a handful of other mobile players, including HTC and Nokia — challenged the patent in the European Patent Office.

Last month, the office upheld the patent, but in a narrower form. IPCom has contended that the technology is essential to 3G standards, and as such any company that uses the technology should be subject to licensing agreements.

IPCom is also suing for infringement based on a Germany-specific telecommunications patent that it owns, but has not yet determined a value for damages.

The patents in question are part of a portfolio of over 1,000 patents that IPCom purchased in 2007 from Robert Bosch, a German electronics firm that manufactured mobile phones in the late 1990s but has since exited the market.

Over the past few years, IPCom has been waging a patent war based on the portfolio in Germany and elsewhere , with varying success. Last July, IPCom reportedly landed a "low-to-medium triple-digit million euro" licensing fee from Deutsche Telekom to settle a number of patent infringement court cases, according to Reuters.

More on Apple and patents

Topics: Mobility, Apple, EU, Patents

About

From the day he brought home a modem and dialed in to a local BBS in 1991, Michael has been obsessed with technology and how it enables collaboration. He has a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, and has worked in and around the technology start-up scenes in San Francisco and Berlin.

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