In The Lord of the Rings books, the kingdoms of elves, dwarves and humans don’t always get along. It’s only when faced with a greater threat that they are willing to put any differences aside and take on a common enemy. Such is the case in the tech world, where the common enemy is not an army of super-powered orcs, but rather a troll – a patent troll.
It’s no secret that Samsung and Apple are not the best of friends when it comes to patents and litigation. The two tech giants have been sparring in court for years, with billions of dollars on the line. So, what kind of enemy would bring them onto the same side of a battle?
In this case, it’s a Luxembourg-based patent troll known as Enterprise Systems Technologies (EST). EST owns five patents that used to belong to Siemens. They cover technology related to downloads, hands-free telephony, bandwidth optimization, instant messaging and audio jacks.
EST claims that both Apple Inc. and Samsung Group make communications devices – phones, tablets, computers, etc. – that infringe on these patents. EST is also targeting HTC, LG and more. At least one major company, Microsoft, has decided to settle and pay the company rather than go to court.
The companies that refuse to settle face potentially damaging consequences. EST wants the Federal Trade Commission to ban import of infringing products, such as Galaxy phones, iPhones, the Macbook Air and various other smartphones.
Not to limit is offensive options, EST is suing these companies in other courts, taking on Apple in Delaware federal court and Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas.