Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still a hit with patent trolls according to a new report. The Cupertino company was the number one target for suits from patent trolls since 2009 according to a report from Patent Freedom, picked up by Apple Insider.

Apple

The report says that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was hit by 171 patent suits since 2009, with 30 of those suits coming this year through June 30. The second biggest target was Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ). HP was the target of 137 suits from patent trolls in the period studied.

Samsung catching up to Apple

As Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) continues to catch up to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the design and sale of smart phones, the company is also attracting more patent suits from hungry trolls. The company’s total count was 133 since 2009.

That number has been increasing for Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930). The company was hit with just 12 suits of this type in 2009, but attracted 43 and 37 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. For 2013 through June 30, the firm attracted 19 such suits.

The report from Patent Freedom does not use the term Patent trolls, instead relying on the term “non-practicing entities,” or NPEs. According to the group, NPEs are “any entity that earns or plans to earn the majority of its revenue from the licensing or enforcement of its intellectual property.”

Patent trolls target Apple

Patent trolls usually hope that their targets will offer them a quick settlement in order to get the legal action off of the books, and avoid hefty legal fees. That means they head for the richest companies, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the best target. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not the only company with a huge amount of interest from these groups, however. Almost all of the big players in the tech hardware space are mentioned in the top ten.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) attracted 103 suits in the period, Verizon attracted 105, AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) attracted 127, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) attracted 122, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) attracted 110, HTC Corp (TPE:2498) attracted 106, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) attracted 105, and LG attracted 104.

Patent trolls are a big problem in the tech industry, and tech companies are lobbying to have patent laws changed in order to make the protection of their intellectual property easier and less expensive. There seems, however, to be little political will to change the laws, despite the pleas of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook.