In the late 1980s, Dr. Phillip Adams discovered a floppy disk controller malfunction common to many personal computers. After significant time and effort, he figured out several ways to fix the bug, and he patented them. Since then, Adams has filed several lawsuits accusing computer manufacturers of misappropriating his technology.
In the most recent chapter in Adams' fight to maintain his IP rights, a Utah federal magistrate judge's March 30 ruling against ASUSTEK Computer and ASUS Computer International (collectively ASUS) has generated controversy--not over the IP issues involved, but rather over how far a company must go in preserving documents and electronically stored data.
"I couldn't tell if the court was confused, meant to go down this road or felt boxed in by the facts," says Pete Pepiton, industry solutions director at CA, an IT software management company.
Reading between the lines, Radke suggests the judge smelled foul play, but the facts of the case made it tough to get the proper results without writing the controversial decision--a problem of "bad facts make bad law," he says.