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Patents The Almighty Buck The Courts Wireless Networking

Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes 436

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
akahige sends this excerpt from an article at TechDirt: "The Patent Examiner blog has the incredible story of Innovatio IP, a patent troll that recently acquired a portfolio of patents that its lawyers (what, you think there are any employees?) appear to believe cover pretty much any Wi-Fi implementation. They've been suing coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels first — including Caribou Coffee, Cosi, Panera Bread Co, certain Marriotts, Best Westerns, Comfort Inns and more. ... The lawyer representing the company, Matthew McAndrews, seems to imply that the company believes the patents cover everyone who has a home Wi-Fi setup, but they don't plan to go after such folks right now, for 'strategic' reasons."
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Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

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  • Re:CSIRO (Score:5, Informative)

    by femto (459605) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:30PM (#37594970) Homepage

    I'd like to know what number patents Innovatio are using. The CSIRO patent (5,487,069, filed in 1992) was a pretty complete description of the 802.11 OFDM physical layer. Surely anything else has to be a minor and obvious increment? The oldest patent I can see, with inventors Meier and Mahany, is 5,394,436, filed in 1994, and it does not refer to the CSIRO patent (meaning it is open to challenge from the CSIRO patent?) 5,394,436 might apply to the MAC layer, rather than the physical layer, and it is quite vague. Defenders might want to refer to the PARROT project, which the CSIRO was running as part of its WLAN work, predating 5,394,436. PARROT was a complete WLAN MAC layer (google: csiro parrot mac layer).

    There was also a PhD thesis that came out of Macquarie University in the early 1990's. The name of the author escapes me, but the supervisor was David Skellern. The thesis described a MAC layer for mobile IP, and fed heavily into the standards at the time.

  • Re:CSIRO (Score:5, Informative)

    by femto (459605) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:39PM (#37595012) Homepage
    Andrew Myles was the author of the thesis.
  • by Ocyris (1742966) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:57PM (#37595136)
    Actually a google search indicates that Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC is being used by Cisco Systems, Inc. and Motorola Solutions, Inc. Papers were filed back in May.
  • Re:Take out a hit? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hrimhari (1241292) on Monday October 03, 2011 @09:12PM (#37595182) Journal

    From the article:

    Return Fire

    Innovatio’s first infringement suit, filed March 8 against Caribou Coffee Co., Cosí, and other small business chains, triggered retaliation from wireless communications giants Motorola Solutions, Inc. and Cisco Systems.

    In May, Motorola and Cisco fired back with a complaint asking for declaratory judgment, calling for the Delaware federal court to rule that their products don’t infringe, and declare Innovatio’s patents invalid.

    “Innovatio is in the business of enforcing and licensing patents,” Motorola and Cisco allege in their complaint. “Innovatio does not sell or offer for sale any products.”

  • by Sarius64 (880298) on Monday October 03, 2011 @11:57PM (#37595934)
    Developed in the 1960s, used on ARPANET in 1969. Initiated in 1970, the ALOHANET, based at the University of Hawaii, was the first large-scale packet radio project. http://www.tapr.org/pr_intro.html [tapr.org]
  • by boddhisatva (774894) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:50AM (#37596490)
    On August 11, 1942, US Patent 2,292,387 was granted to George Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey", Heddy Lamarr's married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. It was never implemented at the time. Perhaps owing to this lag in development, the patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for this contribution. Lamarr and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea serves as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as Wi-Fi. Antheil was pianist who wrote some Hollywood film music and performed. He was one brick short of a load and was known to come out to perform and lay a pistol on the piano implying that he would shoot anyone who disturbed the performance. In 1933 Heddy Lamarr became famous (or infamous) for making the film "Ecstasy" in which she appeared nude and was depicted having an orgasm. It was banned pretty much everywhere. When promoting war bonds she offered to kiss any man who bought at least $250K. She raised $7 million in one night. President Obama has ordered an overhaul of the patent system. Currently 500,000 patent applications haven't even been opened. I'm personally considering a patent on "selling things for money". If you have an algorithm you want to patent, consider programming that piece of code into an FPGA using VHDL and patent the circuit. Patents on circuits hold up very well in court.
  • Re:CSIRO (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stellian (673475) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @06:15AM (#37597072)

    They have 34 assorted patents that they are using as an Argumentum Verbosium - Proof by intimidation. They make up hundreds of pages of legalese, there's no way a business can defend itself without spending tens of thousands on patent attorneys to examine those claims and cross-check them against the WiFi standards. Below are the 17 patents asserted against Holiday Inn, have fun. (Talk about "redundant" patents!)

      6,714,559 “Redundant Radio Frequency Network Having A Roaming Terminal Communication Protocol.”
      7,386,002 “Redundant Radio Frequency Network Having A Roaming Terminal Communication Protocol.”
      7,535,921 “Redundant Radio Frequency Network Having A Roaming Terminal Communication Protocol.”
      7,548,553 “Redundant Radio Frequency Network Having A Roaming Terminal Communication Protocol.”
      5,740,366 “Communication Network Having Plurality Of Bridging Nodes Which Transmit A Beacon To Terminal Nodes In Power Saving State That It Has Messages Awaiting Delivery.”
      5,940,771 “Network Supporting Roaming, Sleeping Terminals.”
      6,374,311 “Communication Network Having A Plurality Of Bridging Nodes Which Transmit A Beacon To Terminal Nodes In Power Saving State That It Has Messages Awaiting Delivery.”
      7,457,646 “Radio Frequency Local Area Network.”
      5,546,397 “High Reliability Access Point For Wireless Local Area Network.”
      5,844,893 “System For Coupling Host Computer Means With Base Transceiver Units On A Local Area Network.”
      6,665,536 “Local Area Network Having Multiple Channel Wireless Access.”
      6,697,415 “Spread Spectrum Transceiver Module Utilizing Multiple Mode Transmission.”
      7,013,138 “Local Area Network Having Multiple Channel Wireless Access.”
      7,710,907 “Local Area Network Having Multiple Channel Wireless Access.”
      7,916,747 “Redundant Radio Frequency Network Having A Roaming Terminal Communication Protocol.”
      7,873,343 “Communication Network Terminal With Sleep Capability.”
      7,536,167 “Network Supporting Roaming, Sleeping Terminals.”

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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