Apple Wants $15M from Patent Troll for Frivolous Lawsuit

Apple is asking a Federal Court to order Unwired Planet to hand over US$15 million to cover attorney fees and legal costs related to what it called a frivolous patent infringement lawsuit. The company claimed Unwired Planet filed a series of "kitchen sink" infringement cases targeting iPhone and iPad connectivity functions hoping at least one would stick.

Apple asks court to force patent troll to cover its legal expenses in frivolous caseApple asks court to force patent troll to cover its legal expenses in frivolous case

The court shot down Unwired Patent's case in May with a non-infringement summary judgement for three of the four patents named in the filing. The court ruled Apple wasn't liable for infringement by its customers on the fourth patent. The company called the ruling "damaging," which makes sense considering the court completely shut down the case.

Unwired Planet is a patent holding company that isn't building any products with the intellectual properties it owns. Instead, the company makes its money through patent licensing fees and patent infringement lawsuits.

Apple accused Unwired Planet of using a "scattershot" strategy with its infringement filings, and tossed "everything but the kitchen sink" into its lawsuits to try to wear down defendants so they'd pay licensing fees to stay out of court.

Apple says it spent over $12.6 million in attorney fees and another $2.5 million in other legal-related costs, and it wants Unwired Planet to cover those expenses. If the court rules in Apple's favor, that'll be another big blow for Unwired Planet because it'll have to deal with the bill the court drops in its lap along with losing its case.

Filing a motion to make Unwired Planet pay the legal expenses not only shifts the financial responsibility, but it also sends a warning to other patent holding companies thinking they can make a quick buck off of Apple.

[Thanks to Law360 for the heads up]