Innovatio targets Wi-Fi users with patent suits
Promises not to sue individuals. For now
Having found Cisco and Motorola (prior to its Google borgification) in the mood for a vigorous fightback, Innovatio IP Ventures is changing tack and filing lawsuits against Wi-Fi users for patent infringement.
The company kindly promises not to target individuals; rather, its filings look for payoffs from corporate Wi-Fi customers, most recently hotels.
Patent Examiner details new suits filed in mid-September against major hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt, Best Western and others, all of which accuse the users of violating its Wi-Fi patents and seeking royalties for each of more than 200 locations using Wi-Fi.
This follows an earlier suit brought against Caribou Coffee, restaurant chain Cosí, Panera Bread and others. That suit, which seems to have passed relatively unnoticed at the time, brought a response from Cisco and Motorola seeking to have the patents in question set aside.
Innovatio IP Ventures was only incorporated in February of this year, and within weeks had acquired the suite of patents from Broadcom which it is now seeking to enforce.
The organization told Patent Examiner it doesn’t intend suing individual end users; businesses, on the other hand, are fair game because even a Mariott probably won’t think the reported price tag of between $US2,300 and $US5,000 per site as worth calling lawyers about.
The patents in question mostly cover protocols: like this one, covering a network with a “roaming terminal communication protocol”, or this one, covering mesh networking, or networks with sleeping terminals.
Since all of the patents have passed through Broadcom’s hands, Patent Examiner studiously avoids speculating that the vendor is behind either the lawsuits or the company. ®
Are we fast approaching patent gridlock?
The majors have a policy of securing enough patents on a range of technologies to get back at anybody who attacks them. Indeed the changing ratio of real R&D via Patent lawyer budgets would probably make depressing reading.
Trouble is it effectively locks out true new innovators 'breaking the mould' but lacking an old patent portfolio. If only we could make them non-transferable - so the only party to benefit was the innovator then patents would return to their original and good purpose - giving the innovator a return on their contribution to the community and, hopefully, finance more innovation.
Frankly if the innovator dies (as Kodak is now doing) it is better that its contribution is returned to the public domain than it is kept going so Google can screw Apple.
Not suing users eh?
If they do, it's a simple case of Arkell vs Pressdram I reckon.
Surely a joke?
Surely this has got to be some kind of an April Fools joke. As I understand it the problem is that they have set up a WiFi network using kit they have bought. Isn't that like using a car or bus to get to work.
I'm flabbergasted that anyone would think this is serious, it should be laughed out at the first instance (unless there is much more to it that I don't see and can't comprehend).