Patent 'death squad' used by Apple and others could be unconstitutional
What you need to know
- A U.S. body called the Patent Trial and Appeal Board may be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court..
- The body is used by companies like Apple and Google to fend off patent litigation.
- It has been referred to as a "death squad" by critics.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a U.S. body known by some as a "death squad", may be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court on Monday.
According to the report the body has invalidated 2,000 patents since its inception in 2012, including nearly 200 just from Apple. Many of these patents, the report notes, are held by patent trolls, whose sole business models involve acquiring patents and then suing companies allegedly in breach of using them without licensing. The board was set up in 2011 by Congress "as a faster and cheaper alternative to litigation".
According to the report, some smaller inventors say the tool is being weaponized by larger companies:
The Supreme court may reportedly go as far as to stop the board from reviewing any more patents, stripping 250 judges of their jobs in the process and possibly meaning cases would have to be reconsidered.
Apple was awarded $2.3 million in legal fees over a case that was brought to even after the relevant patents were invalidated by the body.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9