Apple demands patent troll reform

Apple and Google may not agree on a lot of things, but when it comes to crazy patent suits both companies feel the same way: it's time for the rules to change and make it easier to fight back. Apple has joined Google's call for patent reform, particularly around whether it can demand attorneys' fees in cases each company wins. Currently, even if the patent claim is defeated, Google or Apple themselves must cover the cost of their lawyers.

That, Google said back in December when its patent lawyer petitioned the US patent office for changes to the system, is unfair, and Apple concurs.

"Apple has rarely lost on the merits" the Cupertino firm pointed out in its submission to the court, Bloomberg reports, referring to the dozens of patent cases it's faced with each year. "But victory figures as small consolation because in every one of these cases, Apple has been forced to bear its legal fees."

Instead, goes the suggestion, cases where there's an obviously low chance of a positive outcome by a so-called "patent troll" but litigation goes ahead should come with financial consequences.

Meanwhile companies like Apple and Google can't countersue in the traditional way, because the patent holders most commonly filing numerous cases seldom make their own products.

Apple currently has 228 cases pending, including a near-$2bn suit in Manheim, Germany, in which IPCom argues infringement in the way networks prioritize emergency calls. Similar cases by the firm have been made against Nokia and others in the past.