Acacia, one of the larger and more well known patent hoarding firms, has followed in the footsteps of other
where the patent holder sues a bunch of companies at once. The general reason for doing so is in order to pick the jurisdiction. The fear is that if someone sues just one or two companies, then others may look to have a more favorable district court give a declaratory judgment saying they don't infringe. In this case (which, surprisingly, does not take place in Marshall, Texas, but in Cleveland, Ohio), Acacia (or, more accurately, a subsidiary of Acacia) is using an old patent on computer-aided transcription
and applying it to predictive text systems. Of course, predictive texting systems are quite common these days, making it easy to sue 23 different companies for infringement
, including Microsoft, Nokia, IBM, Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm, RIM, Nintendo, Motorola, AT&T, Verizon and a bunch of others along those lines. Not surprising to see this from Acacia, but it's yet another overly broad patent being applied completely outside the space it was intended for, and being used to basically shakedown a ton of companies for offering useful products that were designed entirely independently of this patent.
In more positive Acacia news however, the company (or, again, a subsidiary) has lost one of its other patent lawsuits against Microsoft
. Turns out the jury (in Marshall, Texas, yes) didn't believe Microsoft violated the patent in question. Won't stop Acacia from filing more such lawsuits, but always nice to find out that patent hoarders don't always win.