A month ago, Steven and Mary Reiber apparently sued a bunch of companies over patents having to do with hard drives. The lawsuits were filed against Western Digital, Seagate, HP, Toshiba and Dell. I wouldn't have even noticed if this other bit of news had then crossed the wire. It seems that the Reibers decided that just suing wasn't enough, so they also decided to use every patent holders new favorite loophole to get injunctions without the courts having a say: asking the International Trade Commission to ban the import of products. And, of course, the ITC has now agreed to investigate the claim. Apparently the Reibers couldn't even wait for the court case to put some more pressure on these firms to settle. None of the articles make it clear what the patent in question is, but the couple appears to hold at least one patent on dissipative ceramic bonding tips. I have no idea if the companies in question are actually violating the patent, or even if the patent is legitimate -- but simultaneously filing patent lawsuits against a bunch of big name companies while also taking the loophole route certainly fits in with the typically questionable activities of patent holders who are trying to squeeze other companies for money, rather than ones looking to promote innovation. Hopefully someone has some more details on this case (or can get access to the filings). But, whenever a patent holder suddenly files a lawsuit against basically everyone in the space, it makes you wonder if the idea in their patent wasn't "obvious" to those skilled in the art from the beginning.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Bringing Transparency Back To The Patent System With 'Innovation Cartography'
- Latest TPP Leaks Reveal That US Is Isolated In Its Desire To Push Through Corporate Exceptionalism
- Why The USTR Is Working So Hard To Kill American Innovation And The Economy
- Supreme Court To Hear Key Case On Software Patents That Appeals Court Couldn't Figure Out
- House Approves (Weakened) Anti-Patent Trolling Bill, Now We Wait For The Senate