Intellectual Ventures Sues Google/Motorola Mobility Yet Again, Using Highly Questionable Nokia Patents
from the look-at-that dept
Two years ago, we wrote about Intellectual Ventures suing Motorola Mobility over a really random collection of patents in Delaware. Apparently, that wasn’t enough, because, IV has gone back to the well to file a totally different patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola Mobility on a different set of totally random and highly questionable patents, this time in the southern district of Florida. The patents in play:
- 5,790,793: Method and system to create, transmit, receive and process information, including an address to further information
- 7,136,392: System and method for ordering data messages having differing levels of priority for transmission over a shared communication channel
- 6,121,960: Touch screen systems and methods
- 7,382,771: Mobile wireless hotspot system
- 7,564,784: Method and arrangement for transferring information in a packet radio service
- 6,170,073: Method and apparatus for error detection in digital communications
- 7,848,353: Method, communication system and communication unit for synchronisation for multi-rate communication
If these sound like a set of fairly random and extremely broad patents, you’d have a point. Just take a look at that first one, which is basically claiming the ability of a computer system to receive a URL (say, in an email message) and automatically pull part of the page in to the first computer — ie., it’s a patent on a really basic and obvious concept, to proactively pull data from a website referenced in a link as a sort of preview. As is so often the case with patents like this, this is the kind of thing lots of people talked about around the time it was patented, but which people didn’t do because other aspects of the infrastructure weren’t ready yet, such as bandwidth (i.e., in 1995, people didn’t want to push too much to a user’s computer, because there was a good chance they were speeding along on a 2400 baud modem).
Most of the other patents are similarly broad or obvious concepts that were generally not being done because of other factors, not because there was anything non-obvious about the idea, or that it was particularly difficult to do. A patent is supposed to incentivize someone to invent something that wouldn’t otherwise be invented. That’s not happening here.
And, remember, this is the same Intellectual Ventures that claims it that it focuses on “high quality” patents.
Oh yeah, also, for all the talk about IV’s inventive operations, not a single one of these patents originated with IV. And they’re not from the proverbial “independent inventor” IV likes to claim it’s helping. The 784 and 073 patents both came from Nokia, while the other patents originated with a variety of other companies: NetDelivery, Conexant, ViA, In Motion and IP Wireless. Most of the companies are still in business. It’s unclear if anyone — such as Nokia — retains an interest in those patents, but that would be a pretty slimy move to pass off patents to IV to avoid suing a direct competitor themselves. As Groklaw rightly notes, this certainly has all the hallmarks of privateering, where big companies pass off their patents to some trolls to do their dirty work. It’s just that, in this case, the troll is the world’s largest, Intellectual Ventures.