Forgent Settles Patent Case; Ends Up With Over $100 Million For No Innovation

from the and-who-wins?-the-lawyers dept

Remember Forgent Networks? This is the company that had acquired a bunch of assets, including some patents, and later, while looking at them decided that one of those patents might retroactively cover JPEG image compression technology — despite the fact that they, and the original creators of the patent, had absolutely nothing to do with the actual technology. They went on a licensing spree that pissed off a bunch of companies who saw it as a perfect example of abusing the patent system. It wasn’t helping anyone except for a company that had absolutely nothing to do with the technology in question at all. Even as people found prior art Forgent kept convincing companies to license the patent, as it was often cheaper to license than to fight it. Earlier this year, the Patent Office agreed to review the patent and indicated that they had some questions about how valid it really was. There’s still a long process following that, and initial skepticism doesn’t mean that the patent won’t eventually be upheld, but it appears Forgent saw the writing on the wall and decided that it was a good time to cash out. They’ve now settled all the remaining claims they filed using that patent for $8 million — which is significantly less than they had hoped to get. Still, in the end the company managed to get well over $100 million out of a variety of companies without doing the slightest bit of innovation.


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