Apple, Intel Jointly Sue SoftBank Subsidiary For Patent Hoarding

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. has a disclosure and ethics policy.

Cupertino tech giant Apple is suing SoftBank owned Fortress Investment Group for patent stockpiling. The company is joined by Intel Corporation in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) claims that Fortress and its subsidiaries are responsible for hoarding patents simply for the purpose of suing tech firms. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), for its part, had filed an earlier lawsuit with similar claims against Fortress, but it has now withdrawn the suit and joined forces with Apple.

Apple, Intel Join Forces In Suing Fortress Investment Group For Patent Stockpiling

The suit has been filed in the United States District Court of Northern California, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has made key disclosures related to Fortress's legal action against the company. The iPhone maker is busy fending off lawsuits from Fortress's subsidiaries Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg. Both have filed 25 suits against Apple for various technologies present on the company's iPhone and other devices.

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Fortress Investment Group is a subsidiary of Japan's SoftBank Group. Apple is an investor in SoftBank's Vision Fund, and it is unclear whether these lawsuits have affected the working relationship between the two companies.

Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son

In the lawsuit, Apple states that it "has suffered economic harm in the form of litigation costs and diversion of resources away from innovation to respond to these entities’ serial nuisance suits". Both Intel and Apple state that Fortress and its subsidiaries work on the objective of simply owning patents without intending to use them in products. When other companies use technologies similar to those present in Fortress' patents, they get sued for compensation.

Fortress has stated in reply to an earlier lawsuit for similar practices that the company believes its legal position is solid and the suits do not have any merit. Fortress has demanded up to $5.1 billion in damages from Apple, its two subsidiaries mentioned above believe that Apple should pay them damages between $1.41 and $2.75 per device.

Venting out its frustration, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) further states in the lawsuit that:

 The apparent precision of the per-unit damages request is a facade; Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg simply adopted the amounts that Apple sought from Samsung in litigation for Apple’s patents.

While the suit has been filed today, it's unlikely that any quick action will follow given the bureaucratic nature of these filings. Apple and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) have not responded to requests of a comment.

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