Patent Holding Company Sues Nokia For $18 Billion

from the aim-high dept

And you thought NTP getting RIM to shell out $612.5 million was excessive? It seems that other patent holding companies are shooting much higher. About a year ago, we noted that some private equity firms were so thrilled with the outcome of various patent hoarding lawsuits that they were raising funds solely to buy up patents, stick them in shell companies, and sue businesses that actually made products. We're seeing more and more of those types of lawsuits, with the latest one being pretty impressive. Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group has backed a patent holding firm IP-Com, who is now suing Nokia for patent infringement to the tune of $17.77 billion (yes, billion with a b). At that rate, a mere $600 million seems like pocket change. Expect to see a few more of these types of lawsuits, as well. With so much money going into these patent hoarding firms, combined with fears that we may finally seem some legitimate patent reform (either via Congress or the Supreme Court), many patent holders may be scrambling to squeeze whatever they can as fast as they can -- and starting off with ridiculous numbers is one way to push for a faster settlement.


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  1.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 8:07pm

    I'm seeing a parallel...

    ...with the 1980s. Remember all the money-for-money's-sake practices, like asset-stripping, leveraged buyouts and so on? Until it all came tumbling down in the '87 crash. People learned to be a bit more sober after that.

    I think patent-trolling needs to go through a similar bubble-and-crash pattern before people will realize how counter-productive it really is. I agree, the results may not be pretty, but hopefully the lessons will be long-lasting...

     

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  2.  
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    Cynic, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 8:09pm

    Dr. Evil: we'll sue for 17.77 billion, and if that doesn't work we'll send the ill tempered sea bass after them!

    It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

     

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  3.  
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    angry dude, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 8:29pm

    screw nokia

    Nokia ? He-he-he

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 12:54am

    Re: screw nokia

    oh COME ON you aren't even TRYING now.

    GTFO angry dude!

     

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  5.  
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    Simon, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 1:34am

    Get In My Belley

    That's sad seing Fat Basterds trying to make money off of other peoples work. If I was in nokia's shoes I'd hire hit-men to take care of everyone involved in the lawsuit, and then get the lucky charms bandit to take care of their families... Maybe do something with their pets as well... :D

     

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  6.  
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    wolfger, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 1:38am

    just like the domain name squatters...

    Patent squatters who don't produce any marketable goods should be stripped of their patent. I mean the patent system *is* supposed to be for the good of society, and not just some way to make lawyers richer.

     

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  7.  
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    richard, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 4:19am

    Don't patent ideas

    ... just patent real things and a lot of this nonsense disappears.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 5:16am

    Send in the sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

     

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  9.  
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    Alex, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Might force Nokia to rethink its position on paten

    Nokia was one of the major entities pushing for the legalization of software patents (sorry, that should be "patents on computer-implemented inventions") in the EU. This lawsuit might make it realize that isn't such a good idea.

     

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  10.  
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    Grant, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 12:37pm

    600 lb gorillas

    So how does the little guy with a brilliant idea keep the 600-lb gorilla from becoming a predator? The gorilla knows the little guy won't stand a chance of holding out in patent litigation, so just walk all over the poor little dweeb. Isn't it about time the gorilla saw some risk in blatently ignoring the patent of the little guy?

    Every patent holder needs an IP-com to do battle for them, someone with the kahoohahs big enough to hurt somebody.

     

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  11.  
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    Cixelsid, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    Re:

    Yeah, I got patent pending on that, as soon as I get it I'm suing you and Mike Myers.

     

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  12.  
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    john, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Nokia sued for 18 Billion

    Here Here Grant! I'm tired of seeing commentary after commentary calling out those who sue big companies being "trollers" and looking for a quick buck. Truth is, if a little guy has a real patent and the big guys infringes, the little guy deserves the dough. The lawyers and the courts will figure out a fair verdict, and if the little guy ain't got the goods then they ain't gonna get paid.

    jp

     

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  13.  
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    Naj, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 12:57am

    Ridiculous

    Please -- let's not act like some little guy here deserves billions of dollars just because they come up with some invention that nobody even paid attention to. Do you really think that Nokia went out and stole their invention? or that there invention was just one of many millions of obscure inventions stored away on the patent website, and it happened that Nokia developed and used technology on their own that infringed such patent? Since the latter is probably the case, what societal benefit could there be of allowing said small inventor (which, in any event, sold its patent to some private equity firm, probably for peanuts, so it's really private equity firm and its lawyers) to make BILLIONS of dollars here? The answer -- there is none. The whole exercise is a misallocation of economic resources caused by bad policy which hopefully will be changed.

     

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