Apple faced more patent lawsuits than any other corporation in the United States in 2013.
People always like to take a swing at those on top. Apple — the highest-ranked tech company in the Fortune 500 — faced more patent lawsuits in 2013 than any other company in the United States.
Apple received 59 patent lawsuits last year — nine more than the next company, Amazon, according to a report by Lex Machina, a legal-analytics company in Menlo Park, California.
The top 10 most-sued companies for patents are tech giantsThe top 10 most-sued companies for patents are tech giants, Lex Machina reports.
AT&T, Google and HTC are next on the patent lawsuit rankings after Apple and Amazon. The number of patents doesn't fall sharply after the first few either. The tenth company, HP, was listed as the defendant in 34 patent lawsuits last year; Google, No. 4 on the list, had only five more lawsuits (39 in all).
If you're not an expert on patent legislation, you might think California's district courts — where patent lawsuits are filed — are overwhelmed with cases. But the Northern District Court of California and the Central District Court of California actually saw decreases in the number of patent cases filed between 2012 and 2013, Lex Machina reported. Although many tech companies are geographically located in those districts, legally, they're in Delaware.
Many corporations — not just technology-oriented businesses — incorporate in Delaware because the state has fairly low corporate tax laws and regulations. Apple, Amazon and Google are all incorporated in Delaware. Several corporations only have a P.O. box in a building in Delaware to avoid paying higher taxes in another state.
The number of patent lawsuit cases in Delaware — including non-tech companies — increased 33% between 2012 and 2013, from 1,002 cases to 1,336, according to Lex Machina.
The incorporation law silver lining for local consumers: because Delaware earns so much revenue from its corporate taxes, there's no sales tax in Delaware. You can shop till you drop and pay Uncle Sam nothing.
As for Apple's legal travails, it turns out that at least one major patent dispute will be coming to an end. Apple and Google recently decided to end an ongoing legal dispute over an array of smartphone-related patents.