dcrouch writes "Compression Labs has initiated a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against 31 major companies for infringement of its 4,698,672 patent. The patent, filed in 1986, includes 46 claims for various embodiments of digital signal compression technology and reportedly covers JPEG compression. From the dates on the face of the patent, it appears that it will expire in October 2004. This looming date may have prompted the suit. Compression Labs will certainly have a fight on its hands. A major question will be why the patentee waited so long to stake its claim. The Eastern District of Texas court has established special patent rules that help speed the progression of litigation."