Over the past two decades, technology has advanced at an unprecedented pace, leading to a significant increase in the number of patents filed each year. As the number of patents has grown, so has the number of patent disputes and lawsuits. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 patent infringements since 2000.
Apple vs. Samsung (in 2011)
In 2011, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung, claiming that Samsung had infringed on several of its patents related to the design of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung, in turn, countersued Apple, alleging that Apple had infringed on some of its patents related to wireless technology. The lawsuit was one of the largest patent disputes in history, with Apple ultimately winning a $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung. However, the decision was later appealed and reduced to $548 million.
BlackBerry vs. NTP (in 2006)
In 2006 when NTP, a Virginia-based holding company, filed a lawsuit against BlackBerry, then known as Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company behind the popular BlackBerry smartphone. NTP claimed that RIM's BlackBerry devices, which used wireless email technology, infringed on patents held by NTP. The case dragged on for several years, however, RIM eventually reached a settlement with NTP in 2006, agreeing to pay $612.5 million to license NTP's patents.
Oracle vs. Google (in 2010)
In 2010, Oracle sued Google over the use of Java in the Android operating system. Oracle claimed that Google had infringed on its copyrights and patents related to Java. The case revolved around whether Google had the right to use certain Java APIs in its Android platform without obtaining a license from Oracle. The case went to trial in 2012, and a jury found that Google had not infringed on Oracle's patents. In 2021, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google, stating that Google's use of the Java APIs was covered under fair use, effectively ending the legal battle between the two companies.
Microsoft vs. TomTom (in 2009)
In 2009, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against TomTom, a Dutch navigation company, claiming that TomTom had infringed on several of its patents related to GPS technology. Microsoft offered TomTom a chance to license the patents, but TomTom refused and instead filed a countersuit claiming that Microsoft was infringing on four of its patents related to vehicle
navigation technology. The lawsuit was settled out of court, with both entering into a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement and TomTom agreeing to pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money. It is an estimate that TomTom paid Microsoft $100 million.
Intellectual Ventures vs. Motorola Mobility (in 2011)
In 2011, Intellectual Ventures (IV), a company that owns a large portfolio of patents, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola Mobility, which was then a subsidiary of Google. IV accused Motorola Mobility of infringing on six of its patents related to a variety of technologies, including mobile phones, wireless communication, and software. The case
went to trial in 2014, and a jury found that Motorola Mobility had not infringed on any of the patents asserted by IV. The jury also found that IV had not proved that its patents were valid.
Carnegie Mellon University vs. Marvell Technology (in 2009)
In 2009, Carnegie Mellon had sued Marvell over patents issued that related to how accurately hard disk drive circuits read data from highspeed magnetic disks. The university said at least nine Marvell circuit devices incorporated the patents, which were issued in 2001 and 2002, letting the company sell billions of chips without permission. A federal jury in Pittsburgh had awarded Carnegie Mellon $1.17 billion in December 2012. U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer later boosted that sum to $1.54 billion, reflecting Marvell’s alleged willful infringement plus interest. The case was later settled for $750 million, which, after legal fees and related costs, were shared with the inventors.
Philips vs. Nintendo (in 2014)
In 2014, Philips filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, claiming that Nintendo's Wii and Wii U consoles infringed on several of its patents related to motion-sensing technology. Philips sought damages and an injunction that would prevent Nintendo from selling the infringing products in the US. Nintendo, for its part, denied the allegations and filed a countersuit
against Philips in Germany, accusing the Dutch company of infringing on its own patents related to motion-controlled gaming. The settlement between the two companies was not publicly disclosed, however, it was reported that the settlement included a cross-licensing agreement between Philips and Nintendo
Nokia vs. Apple (in 2009)
In 2009, Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement, claiming that the iPhone violated ten of its patents related to wireless communication technology. Apple responded with a countersuit, alleging that Nokia had violated 13 of its patents related to user interface, camera, and power management technologies. The legal battle continued for several years,
with both companies filing multiple lawsuits against each other in various countries. In the end, the two companies settled their dispute in 2011, with Apple agreeing to pay Nokia an undisclosed amount of money to license its patents.
Monsanto vs. DuPont (in 2009)
In 2009, the two companies became embroiled in a legal battle over patents for genetically modified soybean seeds. Monsanto had developed a type of soybean seed that was resistant to glyphosate, a popular herbicide sold under the brand name Roundup. Monsanto had patented this seed, as well as the technology used to create it. DuPont, meanwhile,
had developed its own glyphosate-resistant soybean seed, but had not obtained a license from Monsanto. The case went to trial in 2009, and a jury found that DuPont had indeed infringed on Monsanto's patents. The jury awarded Monsanto $1 billion in damages, one of the largest patent verdicts in history.
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