Patent Lawsuit Nets All the Big Mobile Fish…and Everyone else too!

by Matt Klassen on April 4, 2011

Let’s be honest here, patent infringement lawsuits really aren’t the most interesting news out there, and for the most part we here at the TheTelecomblog choose to save our readers the annoyance of reading about who is suing whom and who is infringing on what patent. But then a story like this comes along, one that strikes me as so ludicrous and far-fetched that I simply can’t believe it.

Just imagine for a moment that a patent existed that covered internet connected phones with search and advertising capabilities, and now imagine just how many companies would be affected by such a patent if it existed; so as I officially introduce you to U.S. patent number 7,525,955, you can probably already guess what it pertains to.

The registered owner, HW Technology, is now using this patent to sue almost everyone in the mobile business for infringement, defending its hard earned intellectual property against those that actually innovate and create mobile devices people want to buy.

The patent itself, filed in 2005 and granted in 2009, deals primarily with phones that utilize applications to connect with merchants or other 3rd parties, and the lawsuit, filed this past Wednesday, targets  mobile devices that “[allow] users to complete a merchant transaction without the need to generate a voice call.” 

As one might imagine, there are a lot of guilty parties illegally infringing on HW Technology’s intellectual property, with Apple and its App Store, RIM and its Blackberry App World, Google and its Android marketplace, all named in the lawsuit. But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there, as HW Technology has also named HTC, LG, Motorola, Amazon, Expedia, Hotels.com and some 20 others in its lawsuit as well.

If nothing else this lawsuit shows the lunacy of the patent process, a process that has led to a perpetual litigation train where everyone is constantly suing everyone else with no clear winners and lots of clear losers; at least lawyers are happy I suppose. 

For me, I simply can’t believe that the U.S. patent office would approve an application that covers such a plainly widespread mobile technology. The abstract for the patent, officially registered in 2009, begins like this: “A software platform in an Internet Protocol (IP) phone having the ability to be used with different communication infra-structures such as broadband, wireless communication and Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) service.” Simply put, if you have an app, a phone that runs an app, an app store, heck, just a phone, it looks like you’re infringing on the patent.

While as a writer and a blogger I’m fiercely protective of my own intellectual property, with patent trolls like HW Technology looking to capitalize on others innovations and creativity, things have simply gone too far.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike April 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

In order for the plaintiff to win a patent lawsuit, they must prove to the court that they were in fact the original inventor, and that the defendant infringed their patent. The defendant must then prove one of the following in order to win the case:

• The patent was not infringed
• The patent is unenforceable
• The patent was never valid

Matt Klassen April 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hey Mike, thanks for the info. I tend to think that this patent lawsuit will fail due to point two, with the defense arguing that such an all-encompassing patent is simply unenforceable in the modern mobile market.

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