Feeds

Mobile phone door surveillance inventor loses out to Nokia

Lodges appeal with Patents Court

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

An inventor who wrote his patent from scratch and conducted a legal campaign against Nokia himself has lost his claim for patent infringement against the mobile giant.

Frank Cunningham must pay £1,500 in costs to Nokia, having lost a review hearing related to an earlier ruling by a hearing officer of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). That opinion, and the review hearing that supported it, said that Cunningham's patent was not infringed by Nokia and that one of the claims he made for his patent was invalid.

Cunningham invented a system which connected a house's door entry system to a mobile telephone. His brief application, accompanied by a page of hand-drawn illustrations, was granted. According to his patent, Cunningham's system comprised a camera built into a house door with a motion detector attached.

When motion is detected or the doorbell pressed, the system connects the camera in the system to the house owner's mobile phone, allowing the owner to see who is at the door.

Nokia has a system called the PT-6 which is a remote camera and motion sensor that sends the owner of a property a photograph of what it sees when it detects motion.

Cunningham alleged that Nokia's technology infringed his patent and asked the IPO to issue an opinion. That opinion was issued last year and turned on the scope of Cunningham's patent. It said that Nokia did not infringe that patent.

Cunningham asked for a review of the opinion, which has only a small number of specific grounds on which it can overturn an original opinion. Opinions are not legally binding and Cunningham can sue Nokia for infringement in the courts.

Hearing Officer Phil Thorpe said that the original opinion had not been an error, and that Nokia has not infringed Cunningham's patent. He found that there was enough difference between the two systems, principally that Nokia's cannot be activated by a doorbell, for there to have been no infringement.

Cunningham represented himself in the case. Thorpe said that his arguments were passionate but not always relevant.

"[Cunningham] has represented himself with no little conviction and has clearly thrown himself into the legal aspects of the case," said Thorpe's ruling. "Unfortunately much of his argument was based on misunderstandings.

"In particular he based his arguments mainly on a false assumption that the scope of his patent extended well beyond the words that he had actually used in his claims, even when read in the light of the description and drawings, to cover aspects of his invention that he seems to have thought of yet not specified or else specified in a way that was clear only to him," he said.

There is a scale on which costs are awarded in IPO hearings, and Nokia applied to have greater costs awarded to them than were allowed on the scale. Thorpe declined, and ordered £1,500 in costs to be paid to Nokia.

Thorpe also ruled that the original opinion was correct when it said that one of the patent's claims, related to a security system for vehicles, was invalid because a previous patent had covered similar ground.

Cunningham has lodged an appeal with the Patents Court.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.