Apple bid to defeat $2.2 billion lawsuit hinges on two-bit question

“Apple Inc.’s chances of defeating a 1.57 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) lawsuit in Germany depend on whether an IPCom GmbH patent protects a technology using one or three bits for coding software used in wireless networks,” Karin Matussek reports for Bloomberg.

“IPCom will only win if it convinces the court the patent isn’t limited to technology using just one bit for coding information, Presiding Judge Holger Kircher said at a hearing in Mannheim, Germany, today. IPCom is relying on a patent for technology to decide what call gets priority on a mobile network when more than one is placed at the same time,” Matussek reports. “‘One or three bits, that’s the key issue here,’ said Kircher. ‘We will issue a separate ruling on this — which means we won’t even touch the question today of what amount of damages would be warranted in case of an infringement finding.'”

“‘It doesn’t really matter how many bits are used, the patent is talking about one set of information, not about the number of bits used to code that information,’ Bernhard Frohwitter, IPCom’s managing director, told the court,” Matussek reports. “Apple’s lawyer Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont argued the language of the patent is restricted to one bit while the 3G standard uses three bits. The court shouldn’t allow an interpretation that goes beyond the actual language the patent was granted for, he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Superior Being” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Samsung, Google lawyers to represent patent licensing firm in tomorrow’s $2 billion Apple trial – February 10, 2014
Apple hit with $2 billion patent infringement lawsuit – February 5, 2014
Apple faces €1.57 billion patent damages claim in Germany – February 5, 2014


  1. Florian Mueller @FOSSpatents
    The patent licensing firm that sued Apple for $2 billion in Germany won’t get *any* amount of damages anytime soon, if ever.

    IMHO it should be illegal to use patents in this way. Patents should only be for protection of your own invention, not non practicing entities using them as a product.

    1. I understand your statement on non-practicing.

      But if you look in the database of issued patents, maybe half of the patents in there are by individuals. These are people that dreamt up something and maybe prototyped it and hoped to sell or eventually make and sell something to a bigger company OR … convince investors to fund his concept and grow it.

      In other words, a patent is not defensible until it is funded just because you haven’t gotten funding yet?

      If you stop individuals from inventing because their patent is worth nothing, then society starts reverting to secrecy agreements regarding hidden inventions and the net effect is a lot of creativity goes down the tubes.

      Corporations simply will not negotiate a secrecy agreement on a trade secret new invention

      1. How long has 3G wireless been around? There should be a statute of limitations for attempting to assert patent rights on an alleged infringer. I hate the way these companies hide in the weeds waiting until someone has profited from sales of a real product, then go after them for the money.

        Apple licensed the “3G standard” for its cell-equipped devices. If there is a problem with the 3G standard infringing on someone’s IP, then they should have to sue the 3G standards organization that licensed its use. If IPCom were to win such a case, then the 3G organization would have to raise its licensing fees accordingly and, perhaps, even make a one-time assessment to cover an immediate judgment. But the current system incentivizes these companies to hide in the weeds and then pop up years later to assault the successful commercial companies.

        I cannot express how disgusted I am with the current international patent system.

    2. As a inventor of multiple patents I can tell you that MOST inventors are ‘non-practicing’ entities. We require larger companies to license our inventions and to invest the millions of dollars necessary to either make it a final product or to implement it in their product.

      Patent trolls do not alway equal non-practicing entity. SEP patents use to be viewed as low return but necessary for commercial advancement of other non-SEP patents . Google and it’s Android partners have now reversed this. They push their tech into SEP status and then try to hold the entire (or at least Apple) hostage to one of the hundreds of SEP to make a modern cell phone or tablet.

  2. The issue is not about non practicing entities, but rather at the heart of what makes a patent a patent.

    A patent is NOT for an idea or a collection of ideas. A patent is for a specific, clearly described implementation (or a specific set of implementations that are clearly described) of an idea or set of ideas.

    A patent holder who describes in his/her patent application a specific implementation or set of implementations does clearly defines what the patent covers. The patent application sets up not only the scope of applicability of the patent but also the limits of the patents. If the patent application describes something with three screws then the patent applies to something that *requires* three screws to implement it. It does not apply to an implementation that *requires* five screws. (NB: Each sentence emphasizes *requires*.)

    A patent holder does NOT get to go in later and say, “Well, I meant that too!” It must never work this way. Even a minimal extrapolation of this would allow certain base patents to cover a huge multitude of cases and virtually every company would be in violation of several basic patents. This would clearly release a patent hell on Earth (as if it isn’t bad enough now).

    The court needs to rule that a patent says what it says, is limited by what it says and implies nothing more. The court must rule that the patent holder does NOT get to reinterpret what she/he meant after the fact.

    If the court rules otherwise, the patent system goes from truly inept to completely doomed.

    1. Shadowself, I cannot that you enough for how well you expressed yourself. May the courts hear your words and act accordingly in all cases.

      Invalidate all broad “concept” patents. They are a scourge on this Earth!

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