updated 07:36 pm EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
New rulings make it easier for baseless claim filers to be penalized
The US Supreme Court has ruled in a pair of cases which will enable companies who win patent lawsuits to more easily collect fees from the filer. The rulings are aimed at non-practicing entities, also known as "patent trolls," and are aimed at recovering expenses from cases with little or no merit. Apple filed its own brief with the Supreme Court about the case. The Cupertino manufacturer noted in its filing that it settled 51 out of 57 filed cases, saying that "the opening line of many negotiations is some form of, 'What we're asking for is less than it will cost you to litigate this case to judgment.'"
The ruling by the Supreme Court declares that "material inappropriate content" of "objectively baseless" claims are now grounds for a finding for a reimbursement of the defendant's legal fees and other costs. The finding requires "clear and convincing evidence" of a case brought in bad faith, with the intent of legally extorting a small payment out of a company in the name of patent violation. The Supreme Court is leaving the determination of the status of the filer to the district courts.