In this edition, a lawyer-inventor wants a royalty on cell phone 911 calls; a RIM subsidiary fires off a lawsuit at Motorola; a small Chicago trading firm takes on two big banks; and a fight over a piglet-saving vaccine.
Going After Big Banks
Edge Capture LLC et al. v. Barclays Bank PLC et al., N.D. Illinois 09-cv-01521.
Holding company Edge Capture and partner Edge Specialists LLC sued two international banks--Barclays and UBS--as well as a Chicago-based trading technology company, Wolverine Trading, for patent infringement.
Edge Capture owns two patents issued in 2007, 7,251,629 and 7,177,833, while Edge Specialists LLC is an "independent software vendor" owner by inventor Thomas M. O'Donnell, who has extensive experience in financial markets.
In its suit, O'Donnell's company emphasizes its "extensive United States patent protection" for its trading tools. The plaintiffs are represented by a legal team at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, led by powerhouse patent litigator Ron Schutz, who has won big awards for St. Clair IP Consultants and Grantley Patent Holdings, among others.
In Case of Emergency
Tendler Cellular of Texas, LLC v. AT&T Mobility, LLC et al. 09-cv-0115-LED, E.D. Texas, filed 3/12/09.
Tendler Cellular of Texas is a holding company controlled by patent lawyer Robert K. Tendler, formerly a patent lawyer for Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs. Tendler, who claims he was the first person to put GPS in a cell phone, has sued the five major cellular service providers that control the lion's share of the U.S. market--AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. He accuses the carriers of infringing patent 7,447,508, which covers a "location based information system."
While the plaintiff here is a patent-holding company, Tendler also controls what looks to be an operating company, Tendler Cellular, which he founded in Boston in 1996. Tendler Cellular markets something called FoneFinder, which it describes as an "inexpensive solution" to the problem of identifying the point from which cellular 911 calls originate.
Although the company has been around for more a decade, Tendler, only filed for the '508 patent in 2007; That patent is a continuation of a 2003 patent application covering using a cell phone with a GPS to locate services like "gas stations, movie theatres, drug stores, etc."
Tendler is demanding the cell phone service providers pay him a royalty on "location based services" including 911 services, that they offer to subscribers. He is represented by Jonathan Suder of Friedman, Suder & Cooke, a Fort Worth lawyer who files frequently in E.D. Tex.
This isn't Tendler's first patent suit. He sued the ONSTAR Corporation for patent infringement in 2006; the case settled in May 2008. Three months later, he sued BMW, Toyota, and two smaller companies, accusing them of infringing the "parent" of the '508 patent he is now asserts against the cell phone providers. Tendler dropped his claim against Toyota within a week; the remaining defendants by the end of that year.
Cutting Off A Power Surge?
Ultra Products, Inc. v. Best Buy Co., Inc. et al. 09-cv-01095, D. New Jersey, filed 3/09/09.
Ultra Products, Inc. accused retailers Staples, Best Buy, CDW Corp., Fry's and Micro Center of selling various computer power supply products that it says infringe its 7,133,293 patent. Ultra Products Inc., based in Fletcher, Ohio, sells a variety of electronics, from DVD players to hard drives, and of course power supplies—the power boxes that modulate the electricity inside a personal computer. Ultra is the original assignee of the '293 patent, which was issued in 2006. Ultra Products asserted the '293 patent against more than a dozen smaller companies in three lawsuits filed last year in Florida, which are ongoing. In this lawsuit and the previous three, Ultra is represented by Greenberg Traurig.
Tip Communications, LLC v. Motorola Inc., 09-cv-00464, N.D. Texas, filed 3/9/2009.
A subsidiary of BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion, Inc. sued Motorola Inc. The subsidiary, named Tip Communications, LLC, is based in Irving, Texas, and filed suit in N.D. Texas.
In its complaint, Tip Communications claims it offered to license its 5,956,329 patent to Motorola on a Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis, but that "Motorola, however, has refused to reciprocate and has not offered nor indicated that it will grant to RIM Limited a FRAND license to patents Motorola claims are standards-essential, and it has misused other technology patents it claims are necessary." The complaint indicates the suit is a tit-for-tat retaliation for one that Motorola filed against TIP's parent company RIM. Tip Communications is represented by Bill Lee of WilmerHale.
The BlackBerry line of products is, of course, the target of innumerable lawsuits brought by the kinds of patent-holding companies some call trolls. RIM has also been aggressive about asserting its own patents, both before and after its famous $612 million settlement with patent-holding company NTP, Inc.
Save the Piglets
Wyeth v. Intervet Inc. et al, 09-cv-00161, D. Delaware, filed 3/12/09.
Giant drug company Wyeth Inc. filed suit against Intervet, a division of Schering-Plough, as well as Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., alleging that the companies market vaccines that infringe Wyeth patents covering products that treat piglet weight loss disease associated with Porcine Circovirus.
What, you haven't heard of Porcine Circovirus? That's why God invented Wikipedia. A Wyeth unit produced the first USDA-approved PCV vaccine in 2006. Apparently Wyeth's product and competing PCV vaccines are so effective that certain more-efficient pig farms now have an overcrowding problem. Wyeth is represented by Ashby & Geddes.
Photo: Ciell / Wikimedia