IPCom’s Patent Infringement Suit Against Apple Thrown Out

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The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany dismissed IPCom's patent infringement case against Apple on Friday. The court said that Apple wasn't infringing on 3G/UTMS patents IPCom bought from Bosch.

German Court dismisses IPCom's patent infringement case against AppleGerman Court dismisses IPCom's patent infringement case against Apple

The ruling is a big loss for IPCom because the company makes its money from licensing patents and pressuring companies into payments through litigation.

IPCom was asking the German Court for €1.57 billion, or a little over US$2 billion, in damages. Along with Apple, IPCom was suing HTC and other smartphone manufacturers over patents related to placing calls to emergency services such as police and fire departments.

"Today's decisions are, without a doubt, a setback for IPCom's enforcement efforts," said Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.

This case isn't, however, finished because IPCom can -- and most likely will -- appeal the Court's ruling. Should IPCom prevail on appeal, the case will move forward. That said, Apple has already successfully defended its position that it hasn't infringed on IPCom-owned patents well enough to get the case dismissed for now.

Bernhard Frohwitter, former patent attorney for Bosch, launched IPCom in 2007 and currently holds about 1,200 patents from the auto parts maker and Hitachi. The company doesn't make any products and instead relies on licensing fees for revenue.

If IPCom can't get the German Court's ruling overturned, it's going to have a hard time using the same patents in lawsuits against other companies. For Apple, HTC, Nokia and others, they have one fewer set of patents to worry about for now.

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Dealing with patent trolls is time consuming and expensive no matter what country you're in. Seeing IPCom's case dismissed in Germany is nice, but it won't be the end -- and you can bet there are plenty of other patent trolls working on infringement filings, too.



If you are a lawyer, or have one on salary, patent suits are like playing a slot machine. You fill out the paperwork and pull the lever. If you win the payout can be huge. If you lose oh well you’re only out a little bit.

Make it so that in these suits loser pays all legal costs, and most of these frivolous suits will go away.


From what I read, IPcom lost because Apple and HTC both proved that they don’t actually use what IPcom has patented. That may be by luck, or because someone knew about this patent and worked around it, or because the patent is not actually something that one would normally use. Depending on what the reason is, others might still be infringing. I hope not.


I would love to see the German court give the death penalty to the troll’s losing lawyers.  That would only be fair.

John Dingler, artist

Hi Jameskatt,
Yes, patent trolls are bad, and most of us who defend Apple abhor them, especially those of us who are witnesses to their ubiquitous henpecking and harassing of Apple Corp.

But what are you saying with your comment? Losing in a patent court is not a crime, not even a misdemeanor. Your call for death to the loser’s advocates is so extreme that it could be compared to German Fascists burning people just because they lost against the Fascist regime. This likely makes your elliptically hyperbolic comment, which you should repudiate, Fascistic. You could simply explain that your use of “death” was metaphorical and figurative to make a dramatic point.

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