Perhaps not your typical or average patent, the ‘443 patent has some 135 patent claims, which relate to a proximity authorization unit, a proximity service unit, a method of using the proximity authorization unit, or a system for implementing the proximity authorization unit. The majority of the claims, however, are drafted specifically to cover the devices (i.e., the proximity authorization and service units)… This is not the first time that Disney’s MagicBand wireless communication products have been the target of patent infringement litigation. In April 2015, radio frequency system developer InCom Corporation of Sutter, CA, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (C.D. Cal.) alleging that Disney’s MagicBands infringed upon InCom patents covering audience tracking system technologies. Last August, the two companies agreed to settle the case after InCom had alleged that Disney sold about 10 million MagicBands at $12.95 each after being notified of the potential infringement.
“We are disappointed with the outcome and are considering our options,” a Charter spokesperson told Bloomberg News, which first reported the verdict. A Sprint spokesperson said the company was pleased with the verdict, which represented its “full damage demand.”
The number of patents granted to US companies by the European Patent Office (EPO) grew by 46.7% in 2016, the highest increase in ten years, and a new record high. Last year US companies were granted 21,939 patents by the EPO (2015: 14,955).
Given the growth of efficient infringement, Google can operate in an open innovation way, applying open source principles to patented technologies from outside of the company as well as from those inside the company and partners… If it were not for efficient infringement it would be impossible for one company to be involved in as many different areas of endeavor as Google/Alphabet have attempted. The only feasible way for them to hunt for the next revenue stream seems to be to scatter-shot innovation by going in numerous different directions without any real focus. Of course, that requires them to ignore the rights of others and pretend we live in an open source world without any patent rights. Ironically, it is this disparate and uncoordinated approach to innovating that is also preventing Google from developing any kind of mastery outside of their core search competency and revenue generating model.
After staying quiescent for years, IV opened up a barrage of lawsuits to enforce its patents in 2010. But the companies that decided to stand up to IV rather than buckle under have been faring well, as judges have found the patents that IV has chosen to enforce in court less than impressive. It’s a telling sign about the giant patent-holder’s collection. Given the opportunity to pull just about any patent out of its huge collection, one would assume the company would choose the best of the lot. But much of it appears to be exactly the kind of easy handouts from the dot-com boom era that have been called out by critics of “patent trolls.”
Earlier this week, Intellectual Ventures lost two more major patent cases at the nation’s top patent court. It lost a case against Erie Indemnity Company and several other insurers, which had stood accused of infringing US Patent Nos. 6,510,434, 6,519,581, and 6,546,002. The same judges also tossed patents asserted against banking company Capital One. All were found invalid under the Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. precedent, which barred many patents that describe basic business processes and add computer jargon.