Patent Lawsuit So Bogus That The Judge Ordered Sanctions And Attorney's Fees Paid

from the about-time dept

There are an awful lot of bogus patent lawsuits out there, but even when the lawsuits are tossed out it’s very, very rare for a judge to order the plaintiffs to pay the legal fees of the defendants. However, in Illinois it just happened. Joe Mullin has the story of a patent that was quite clearly limited to an infrared camera linked to a GPS system. The patent examiner required the inventor to include the word “infrared” before declaring the patent acceptable and non-obvious. Yet, that didn’t stop the patent holder from suing LG, Pantech and Disney for the Disney mobile phone service that let parents track where their kids were. The product was a huge commercial failure, but those are three big companies worth suing for infringement.

However, the judge noted, sternly, that the patent holder and the law firm that was handling the case (which had also worked on the patent) clearly decided to ignore what the patent actually said about it being for infrared cameras. This practice is more common than it should be. Even when claims are written to be narrowly focused, there’s always some wiggle room, and many patent holders bring lawsuits on technologies that are pretty far from what’s in the claims — usually hoping that the accused will settle rather than take the issue to court. In this case, though, the judge pointed out that it was clearly a frivolous lawsuit, and ordered the defendants get reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees. If this happened more often, maybe we’d see fewer ridiculous patent lawsuits.

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Companies: disney, lg, pantech

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Comments on “Patent Lawsuit So Bogus That The Judge Ordered Sanctions And Attorney's Fees Paid”

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20 Comments
Mr Big Content says:

Not Fair

Just doesn’t seem right. The guy put in so much effort into coming with his idea and patenting it. And then he gets diddled out of his income just because the infringers are doing something a little different, that’s not covered by his patent!

This is why the patent system needs strengthening! People shouldn’t be able to get out of paying you for your ideas just by coming up with their own ideas! If this were allowed to continue, who would continue to bother to think up new ideas?

DarkLord says:

Re: Re: Re: Not Fair

Ahem.

Maybe it’s you who need the reality check. In the real world where I live, people like that DO exist. For every issue that seems completely wrong and injust, there will be at least a small group of people who support it for any number of reasons.

And yes, they too have access to the Internet. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be so damn many 9/11 conspiracy blogs out there.

JC says:

Not gonna make a dent

Until the LAWYERS start having the pay the fees, PERSONALLY, they’ll go right on filing BS lawsuits. Why not? They get paid either way. That’s the great thing about the system they’ve set up. No matter what they do, no matter how unethical, they still get paid. Who overlooks the lawyers? The bar and judges, who all happen to be lawyers. Funny how that works out. Strange how sanctions against lawyers are _incredibly_ rare, no matter how horrid their actions. CYA, folks, CYA.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Imagine a world.

Imagine a world where at the international level made it a crime to hoard any information or product benificial to the people. Then go one further and imagine the resources at a scientist fingers on a worldly scale. 100 trillion not in war but progressive thinking… who would want to live in a world like that? hmmmmm.

History has proven great minds think alike, its about f’n time we do something about it.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Infrared Qualifies as a Patenatable concept?

“The Prior Arts” writes “Triune Star owns patent 6,122,521, which covers a camera with a GPS locator in it. But it only covers infrared cameras, a limitiation that the patent examiner insisted on adding in order to grant a patent..

Again we have, I believe, a misapplication of patent law. How is linking an infrared camera to a GPS system different from a camera based on normal light?

The only difference to my knowledge is that infrared light is of a different frequency that regular light. You may need different sensors. because of the light frequency, but how you would “talk” to the GPS would seem to remain the same. So where is the innovation that would qualify it as patentable?

dinnerbell says:

stop the shilling!!!

unsupported patent suits by small entities is rare exactly for the reason you report…sanctions. Most small entities can barely scrape together enough cash to sue, let alone pay potential sanctions so they chose very carefully. When a law firm takes a case on contingency you can bet your ass they do so very cautiously. If you had ever been through it, you would know better. Ignorance is bliss.

What occurs far more often is patentees cannot raise the cash to sue so infringers are able to flaunt their theft.

Quantity Surveyor Man says:

Adopt Gowachin law!

As explained in The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert:

The are obsessed with law, but their forms and procedures are quite the opposite of those in contemporary America. The whole purpose and premise of legal practice is the avoidance of litigation. If a tort must be tried, the event takes place in a Court-Arena, and the losing lawyer is executed by the winner. This system ensures that only life-or-death issues reach trial. It also guarantees that lawyers remain few.

http://www.seablogger.com/?p=233

That will minimize the crap, and provide a whole new world of reality TV shows!

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