Judge Koh Blocks Apple from Using Terms Such As ‘Patent Troll’ in GPNE Lawsuit

Posted by at 3:01 pm on July 3, 2014

Apple must avoid using terms like “patent troll,” “privateer,” or “bandit” in its defense against a patent lawsuit from GPNE Corp., according to a pre-trial ruling by US District Judge Lucy Koh. The company will also be blocked from using terms like “shakedown” or “playing the lawsuit lottery.” Koh argues that such expressions could potentially confuse or bias the jury, which is set to decide whether Apple violated data transmission patents reaching back to 1996.

“Patent troll” is a derogatory but now relatively common term for companies like GPNE, which hold patents but don’t actually make any products. Instead such firms depend on licensing deals and/or lawsuits to bring in revenue. Koh says that Apple will be allowed to claim that GPNE is “a company that doesn’t make anything,” or “a company that doesn’t sell anything.”

The latter is also pursuing money from businesses such as Amazon, BlackBerry, and Nokia.

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