April 30, 2006
Patent Litigation in China
Litigating a patent in China is a different dragon altogether than in the U.S. With both patent grants and litigation rising, the legal system China has now is a wild frontier for protecting inventions.
April 27, 2006
Big 2G Deal
Finnish cell phone maker Nokia has settled a long-smoldering dispute with InterDigital Communications over InterDigital's 2G TDMA patent portfolio, and it only cost Nokia $253 million to put out the fire.
April 26, 2006
Xybernaut, a maker of wearable computing devices, went bankrupt last July. To help put itself back on its feet, Xybernaut is auctioning its "Waypoint" patent portfolio, which includes 6,480,713 & 6,681,107. The Waypoint patents enable location-based services to wireless-enabled mobile devices, such as plopping ads onto a PDA for nearby restaurants and shops; potentially useful and annoying.
April 24, 2006
PTO Democracy At Work
The patent office put out a media advisory Friday about a "town hall" meeting on Tuesday at agency headquarters "to educate the public on USPTO's plans to streamline the application review process." Short notice, and with good reason.
April 21, 2006
John Quincy St. Clair wants a patent [US20060014125; pdf] for a training method to learn to walk through walls. Specifically, it will help you "acquire sufficient hyperspace energy in order to pull the body out of dimension." Personally, I go to my spiritual chiropractor when that happens.
April 20, 2006
Accessible Prior Art
In Bruckelmyer v. Ground Heaters, the CAFC gives broad latitude to what constitutes "publicly accessible" prior art. The court decided that abandoned drawings of a foreign patent application were "publicly accessible," because the file history could be located from the published patent. The lynchpin seems to be whether the material, or even reference to the material, has been catalogued or indexed, not whether the material itself had ever been published.
April 19, 2006
z4 Downs 2
David Colvin of Michigan-based z4, owner of software piracy patents 6,044,471 and 6,785,825, scored a preliminary $115 million dollar judgment against Microsoft, and an $18 million tab against Autodesk. It is shocking to think that an innocent waif like Microsoft could have been found to have willfully infringed, as did Autodesk, and so still faces the prospect of treble damages.
Purgatory or Hell
Lava Trading sued Sonic Trading Management and RoyalBlue for infringing 6,278,982, which claims an aggregating stock trading system. Lava lost on claim construction, so appealed. The CAFC (05-1177) found the flaw in the district court's construction, and remanded. What the CAFC fails to see is its own flaw in claim construction logic.
Universal Remote Control
Phillips sued Contec and its suppliers for infringing two patents related to universal remote controls. The appeals court (CAFC 05-1351) upheld the Delaware district court's summary judgment split decision based upon claim construction.
April 14, 2006
Working Prior Art
Fabio Marino, with broad experience, and a specialist in strategic IP counseling, is moving to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe from Bingham McCutchen. Among other skills & talents, Mr. Marino has an appreciation for working prior art.
April 13, 2006
TiVo pulled out a $74 million win from larger rival EchoStar Communications in patent-holder heaven, the Eastern District of Texas, but the victory smacks of desperation.
Today MicroChip Technology sued rival Luminary Micro in Arizona court. What's odd is that the three asserted patents: 5,847,450, 6,483,183 and 6,696,316, are all currently under reexamination in the patent office.
April 11, 2006
Spilling More Ink
Seiko Epson continues to hammer competitors with infringement suits over its ink cartridge patents. Having recently forayed towards two dozen companies, Epson now adds two dozen more, in a fourth lawsuit of a prolonged and multi-pronged enforcement campaign.
April 9, 2006
Mary Kay, Sour Puss
Mary Kay, cosmetics pink lady, has been ordered to to pay TriStrata Technology $40 million for patent infringement related to skin cream used to treat wrinkles. This is an interest add-on from a March 2005 $26 million judgment over patented alpha hydroxy acid technology.
April 7, 2006
Patent Auction Ripple
Ocean Tomo's first patent auction didn't create the bidding tsunami many sellers hoped for. Then again, it was an odd bird: a live event for diverse technologies. The scene did attract widespread attention, and drew several hundred attendees. For publicity value alone it can be considered a success. As to the patent sales, not so good.
April 6, 2006
The patent office released its collation of the top ten U.S. universities receiving patents in 2005. The University of California topped the list for the 12th straight year.
Gateway Really Cowed
As reported a few days ago, Gateway got slammed for bad faith conduct facing IP theft from Phillips Adams. After opening arguments in the trial, Gateway lawyers approached opposing counsel and offered to settle on Adams terms. The judge warned they better close the deal by the next morning, or trial would continue. Deal done.
April 5, 2006
For the second time, Lucent and Microsoft are heading to court over Lucent's 5,227,878. A typo prevented a showdown the first time. Now xBox 360 is in the dock.
More Settling In
Two more patent spats settled for big-name defendants Google and IBM.
Full Service Patent Evasion
TradeCard owns 6,151,588, "Full service trade system," which claims online trading of goods and services. TradeCard sued Bank of America and rival S1 Corporation in March 2003 for patent infringement over S1's Purchase Order Processing Systems (POPS), which B of A uses. Yesterday came a surprising verdict.
April 4, 2006
A patent litigation news koan: where's the newsworthy flash of a patent settlement? It happens so often, it's hardly news. Here are a few recent greased wheels....
April 3, 2006
Frank Hayes of ComputerWorld likes it when companies pay for patent licenses. "We like it when vendors wave a big check at a problem and make it go away. Sure, we'll foot the bill if it means the result is a clean, simple, effortless (for us) solution." What irks Frank is when they pay, and get nothing for it, except passing the pain on to consumers.
Gateway Cowed Again
March was a bad month for Gateway Computers. First we hear that Gateway paid $47 million to solve their patent infringement problems with HP. Then, in another case of intellectual property theft, we learn that Utah District Court Judge Ted Stewart slammed Gateway for destroying evidence "in bad faith."
April 2, 2006
Both Sides Now
Lorraine Woellert stirs a patent gumbo in her March 31 BusinessWeek "news analysis" of eBay v. MercExchange. "Patent trolls don't get much sympathy -- except maybe from the Supreme Court." Is Lorraine suggesting the heresy that lack of sympathy for patent trolls is misplaced? That patent trolls deserve the same legal rights as any patent owner?