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Motorola patent suit brings light to corruption in patent system

Intellectual Ventures takes on Motorola

Aside from small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the next most sought after victims of patent infringement suits are manufacturers in the technology space. Enter Motorola Mobility, a unit of Google Inc., and one of the latest to battle a patent litigation suit for its smartphone technology. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware met to evaluate the patent claim Intellectual Ventures set against Motorola. The original lawsuit was filed regarding three smartphone patents owned by Intellectual Ventures, which it claims Motorola Mobility has violated. The Bellevue-based company headed by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold originally sued Motorola back in 2011 and could not reach a licensing deal. As a result, the court will decide who comes out on top in a 10-day trial this week. 

Intellectual Ventures may be going after a well-known name like Motorola, but should the private entity be referred to as a patent troll?

A recent Inc. report, takes the opportunity to use the Motorola case to highlight why the whole system regarding patent infringement claims and patent trolls is corrupt.  The rationale behind organizations purchasing dormant patents with no real intention to utilize them except to engage with active companies in lawsuits is unknown; however, that doesn’t mean that organizations and legal groups aren’t doing what they can to regulate the process as it continues to be an issue.

Inc. quoted Brad Caldwell, a principal at Caldwell, Cassady & Curry, who said, "The patent system originated to provide an incentive for people to spend their time and money innovating. That goal of advancing the state of the art is achieved when good inventions are created and taught to the public, whether or not commercial realities put the inventor, or subsequent owners, in a position to compete in the market."

Its unfortunate that big entities with deep pockets are using their power and bank accounts against SMBs and targeting bigger manufacturers with licensing agreements on active products. Many experts worry that in the fever to reform patent law abuses, small businesses could wind up at a disadvantage when they need to bring their own patent infringement suits to court.

General counsel and state attorneys general alike have turned their attention to the issue of patent trolls, and an assortment of AGs and GCs will be speaking about the topic at an upcoming roundtable event. The free event will take place on Feb. 4, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Intercontinental New York Barclay. It will feature the attorneys general from Nebraska, Missouri and Vermont as well as the general counsel from Walmart, DuPont and Rackspace. For more information, or to register for the event, click here.


For related reports on recent patent infringement claims and the war on patent trolls, check out these articles:

Top U.S. patent troll sues the government for interfering with its business

Mitigating smartphone patent litigation

New York cracks down on patent trolls

Patent trolls invade the cloud

Contributing Author

Stefanie Mosca

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