Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Micrografx sues Google, Motorola, Samsung over vector graphics in Android, Chrome, Google Maps

Micrografx, a vector graphics software company from Texas acquired in 2001 by privately-held Canadian software company Corel (which markets the product Micrografx was best known for under the "Corel DRAW", previously "Corel DESIGNER" brand), wants Google as well as Android and Chrome device makers to license some of its patents, which are allegedly infringed by Android (at least by its Google Maps client, which licensed OEMs must redistribute), Chrome, and Google Maps. On Monday, Micrografx filed two parallel patent infringement complaints in the Northern District of Texas (where it is based), one against Google and its Motorola Mobility subsidiary and another one against Samsung (whose subsidiary Samsung Telecommunications America is based in the Dallas area just like Micrografx, thus in the district in which the suit was filed).

Ottawa-based Corel was reprivatized a few years ago and its current financials are not known, but its revenues are probably still in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It has continued to make acquisitions. Last year it bought Roxio, maker of popular CD/DVD burning programs.

Google complains about and funds campaigns against so-called "patent trolls", but neither Corel nor Micrografx meet anybody's definition of a "patent troll". Like no other software platform in the history of the industry, Android faces IP assertions by operating companies including (in alphabetical order) Apple, British Telecom, Ericsson, Fujifilm, Gemalto, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Skyhook -- and now Corel's Micrografx.

Micrografx is asserting the same three patents, which it applied for not before it was acquired by Corel, in both cases:

The infringement allegations against Google relate to "mobile phones, tablets, interactive vector objects, server systems, web browsers, notebooks, and mobile applications", naming specifically the Chrome Browser and Google Maps. Accused Google and Motorola devices include the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, Moto X, Droid Razr M/HD/Maxx HD, Photon Q 4G, Droid Ultra/Mini/Maxx, and Chromebook Pixel.

Samsung is sued for redistributing Android with the mandatory Google Maps client app and Chrome. The complaint names exemplary infringing devices including various Galaxy smartphones and tablets (including the S4) and the Chromebook.

Both complaints seek only monetary compensation ("in no event less than a reasonable royalty for Defendants' acts of infringement"), not injunctive relief. But this is not the kind of patent holder that would bring a nuisance lawsuit, i.e., sue only to settle at a level below the cost of a proper defense. This plaintiff presumably seeks significant amounts of money and is prepared to take a case to trial if necessary (which it probably will be, given Google's notorious unwillingness to license third-party patents).

One of the two law firms representing Micrografx is famous patent litigator Matt Powers's Tensegrity Law Group, which also represents Apple against Motorola in a couple of litigations.

Finally, here are the two complaints:

13-09-09 Micrografx Patent Complaint Against Google & Moto by Florian Mueller

13-09-09 Micrografx Patent Complaint Against Samsung by Florian Mueller

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