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Apple in patent cross-hairs AGAIN

German court okays action from IPCom

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A German patent cash-in outfit called IPCom is claiming $2 billion from Cupertino over the iPhone's ability to give priority to communications such as emergency calls.

The Munich-based patent licensing company has received permission from the Mannheim regional court to sue Apple over this patent, applied for in 2000, and granted in 2010.

Opposition to the patent resulted in it being re-approved in a narrower form in January 2014, and at that time, IPCom said in a statement that the patent is essential to 3G standards. Because of its status as a standard-essential patent, IPCom believes it will be able to prevail against other mobile vendors, including Nokia and HTC (both of which it is suing in a separate action).

The court's announcement is here (Google translation). It says the methods covered by the patent deal with how to manage mobile phone access to congested channels.

IPCom is claiming €1.57 billion, or $US2.12 billion, in the case. The company acquired the patent from Robert Bosch in 2007. Hearings in the case are due to begin next week.

The heavy cost of defending patent actions has led Apple to join hands with Google, and ask US courts to make it easier to recover costs from losing plaintiffs, according to Bloomberg. ®

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