August 28, 2007
On Monday, Polaris IP pulled its lever on the patent slot machine, suing AOL, Google, Yahoo!, A9, Borders, Amazon, and others in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing 6,411,947, which claims automated email message classification using a combination of a case base knowledge engine and rule base.
'947, which has a decently early priority date of May 1997, is not the sole spear that Polaris IP has to chuck; the company owns 6,278,996 as well, which claims lexical analysis of email to discern writer intent and executing actions based upon intent. Of the two, '947 has had more adoption.
Suing all the marquee names single shot is a high-stakes roll. In such cases, it is not uncommon for competitors to coordinate to some degree, particularly sharing found prior art.
The situation practically begs for initiating an ex parte reexamination sooner than later.
Non-infringement position is likely to vary, but expect an invalidity summary judgment motion shortly after the Markman hearing. This one is unlikely to see trial, as '947 probably won't stand in the post-KSR environ. The specification practically puts together a 103(a) scenario under KSR anticipation combination rules, as there is no change of function in the respective functional components.
But Polaris isn't looking for a fight; just a payday.
This is not the first outing for '947. Last March, Polaris IP sued Kana Software, Sirius Satellite Radio, Priceline, Capital One, Continental Airlines, and E*Trade. Kana settled on undisclosed terms, though an SEC filing indicates $55,000 went by the boards for Kana. The outcome with other companies is unknown.
Dennis Crouch at Patently-O speculated that Polaris IP "appears to be part of a web of IP-related companies associated with attorney David Pridham." Associated companies include Orion IP, Constellation IP, IP Navigation Group, Cushion Technologies, CT IP Holdings, Triton, Circinus IP, and Firepond.
To any of the defendants: Patent Hawk is heavily booked with litigations at this time, but would welcome a shot at invalidating '947.
Posted by Patent Hawk at August 28, 2007 10:20 PM | Litigation
On KANA...Considering it is 20 payments over a 5 year period I would speculate the settlement was more than $55,000. I also believe Erach Spangenberg owns Polaris IP.
5.1. In consideration of the license, release and covenants granted by Polaris and the dismissal by Polaris of the Litigation hereunder, Kana agrees to pay to Polaris a total of *** U.S. Dollars ($*** USD), payable in twenty (20) equal quarterly installments of *** dollars ($***) (due and payable no later than each March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 (or if such date is not a business day, the next occurring business day), except for the first payment which shall be made on April 16, 2007) over a period of five years, by wire transfer to an account specified by Polaris and attached hereto as Exhibit C. In the event that Kana fails to make any payment hereunder following written notice to Kana describing the alleged failure with reasonable specificity and a 30-day opportunity to cure such alleged failure following receipt of such notice, then (i) Polaris shall be entitled to (a) maintain all the benefits (including any amount previously collected) provided to Polaris under this Agreement, (b) selectively at any time terminate any or all of Sections 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 7, 8.1(a) and 8.4 and Article IV, (c) collect all fees and costs (including attorneys’ fees and costs) incurred by Polaris in attempting to effect collection and (d) collect interest on any unpaid amounts at the maximum rate allowed by law from the specified date of non-payment through the date of payment and (ii) the Kana shall be deemed to have waived its ability to assert the provisions related to its ability to bring any actions in response to any claim of related to or arising from the infringement of any Polaris Patents as set forth in Section 2.3, 2.4, and 3.3 (and all of the foregoing rights shall be in addition to any other rights Polaris may have under this Agreement or at law or equity).
Posted by: lotz at August 30, 2007 3:10 AM
The 55K on the page you link to is the size in kilobytes of that doc, not the amount of money.
Posted by: anon at June 26, 2008 2:54 PM