Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Intellectual Ventures files second patent lawsuit against Google's Motorola Mobility

Intellectual Ventures ("IV"), the world's largest non-practicing entity, is not going to let Google's Motorola Mobility off the hook anytime soon unless it pays license fees on all of its Android-based devices. In October 2011 IV already brought a first patent infringement action against Motorola Mobility, which was then in the process of being acquired by Google (the transaction closed in May 2012). Google actually provided funds to IV at an early stage, but does not have a license (at least not a comprehensive license that would cover Motorola Mobility's Android device business). Last month I reported on some third-party discovery taking place in connection with that case and listed the key items of the case schedule, culminating in a jury trial that will start on January 21, 2014. In its announcement of today's new filing against Google's Motorola Mobility, IV says that it "has been unable to reach an agreement with Motorola". In that situation, filing additional lawsuits is what a patent holder can do to persuade the alleged infringer that a license deal is inevitable.

Some of the patents in both cases are apparently alleged to read on Android, possibly on "stock Android" (Android as published by Google on the Internet) or at least on the extended version(s) distributed by Google's Motorola Mobility. Various Google partners including Samsung and HTC already have license deals in place with IV.

Two of the seven new patents-in-suit were filed by Nokia and belonged to it until 2011, when Nokia assigned them to a Delaware-based entity named Spyder Navigations L.L.C., which may (now) belong to IV or may have sold these patents to IV. (I'm all for transparency in patent ownership and would like to see other companies, including Google, follow Microsoft's example in that regard, and it would be great if Congressman Ted Deutch's proposed End Anonymous Patents Act became law.)

The first complaint was filed in Delaware, where the case is still pending. Today's complaint was brought in the Southern District of Florida (this post continues below the document):

13-06-19 Intellectual Ventures v Motorola Mobility Second Patent Complaint

These are today's seven patents-in-suit:

  1. U.S. Patent No. 5,790,793 on a "method and system to create, transmit, receive and process information, including an address to further information" (this is about including Internet addresses (URLs) in HTML or ASCII email and ensuring that the URL will be clickable either way)

  2. U.S. Patent No. 7,136,392 on a "system and method for ordering data messages having differing levels of priority for transmission over a shared communication channel"

  3. U.S. Patent No. 6,121,960 on "touch screen systems and methods"

  4. U.S. Patent No. 7,382,771 on a "mobile wireless hotspot system"

  5. U.S. Patent No. 7,564,784 on a "method and arrangement for transferring information in a packet radio service" (this patent originally belonged to Nokia)

  6. U.S. Patent No. 6,170,073 on a "method and apparatus for error detection in digital communications" (another former Nokia patent)

  7. U.S. Patent No. 7,848,353 on a "method, communication system and communication unit for synchronisation for multi-rate communication"

I wouldn't be surprised to see Google request a transfer of this new case from Florida to Delaware in order to consolidate it with the case pending there and to potentially delay the trial.

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