The Gregory Bender barrage of patent lawsuits continues to grow in the Northern District of California. I reported in last week's Patent Lit Weekly that Bender had filed against 19 companies over a one-week period; he now has added nine more companies to the list, in three lawsuits.
All the suits are against high-tech firms and involve Bender's 5,103,188 patent, issued in 1992. The newest defendants are:
- AT&T Mobility
- Sony-Ericsson Mobile
- Samsung Semiconductor
- Toshiba America
- Hitachi America
- Seagate Technologies
- Western Digital
That brings the total to 28 companies sued in 22 lawsuits. In terms of number of defendants sued over a single patent at one time, Bender's '188 patent surely is pushing some kind of record. And there may be more. "I think there certainly are additional potential infringers out there," says Bender's lawyer, David Kuhn.
Kuhn passed on some of my questions to his client--including queries about who Bender is, what he does, who he worked for, how he came up with this invention, and why he waited almost 20 years until deciding that the entire electronics industry owed him royalties on, um, everything.
So I got a response Thursday in the form of a Microsoft Word word document entitled "Press Release Reviewed." It offers only a small glimpse of the Bender belief system: "Mr. Bender believes that the circuit architecture embodied in his patent provided enabling technology for the growth and development of the analog electronic industries and that the invention disclosed in the patent has been used ubiquitously in those industries."
The document also names the products Bender wants a cut from--nothing much, just computers, cell phones, hard drives, DVD players, HD-TV sets, MRI machines, and a few other wonders of the modern age. The file mentions a few industry terms that Bender thinks are code words for stuff he thought of first.
As to my questions about Bender the man, "Press Release Reviewed" answered exactly none of them.
"He is a private person," explains Kuhn. "He does not want publicity." Yes, the public can be annoying when they want to know more about you. But the same public that Bender has so little interest in at present will come in very handy when the bill for his "rights" comes due and is handily dispersed over every consumer in the nation.
Image: Yann / Wikimedia