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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 6:26pm

    never have an egg salad sandwich and then take a nap... horrible gas...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    XCetron, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 6:57pm

    This is the first blog I've seen on Techdirt that is related to Patenting things and the patient office wasnt the main target of the criticism. But according to this at least theyre smart enough to question that patient instead of just letting it sit there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 6:58pm

    HEY, I patented the non-napping post-egg salad sandwich algorithm. Pay me or I'm calling my lawyer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Smooth Jazz Fusion, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 7:05pm

    Prior Art

    I'm going to find a way to redirect air through the gastro intestinal tract and call it a Fart Redirector. Anyone want to license it?

    Come to think of it I'm coming after everyone that farts. Regardless of your prior art, or fart.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 7:41pm

    If they made patents more like trademark, it would be much better. Like, you have to pursue active infringement when it happens, not later. You wouldn't have this, and you wouldn't have crap like the Rambus debacle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    slimcat (profile), Nov 1st, 2006 @ 9:00pm

    No way Smooth Jazz

    Your Fart Redirector patent is blocking my Butt Horn patent. I'm suing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Joe Smith, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Prior Art

    "Fart Redirector"

    If you go see the movie Jackass 2 you'll find out there is already prior art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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