Last week, The Prior Art interviewed former Fish & Richardson partner Scott Harris in connection with a pair of infringement suits filed based on patents issued in his name. Harris says those patents cover important inventions he came up with related to e-books and spam filters.
This week, his opponents are talking—and they say there’s not much to this patent lawyer’s "inventions."
Illinois Computer Research, or ICR, is a patent-holding company that owns Harris's "touch and feel" patent, which covers the displaying of books online. ICR sued Oprah's Book Club and Sony Electronics in December 2008, saying they infringed the patent, numbered 7,111,252. But ICR—owned by Florida lawyer James Beauregard Parker—has come up empty in the suit against Sony.
"The way they were reading the claims read directly on the prior art in our view," says Rich Gresalfi, the Kenyon & Kenyon partner who headed up Sony's legal team. "We asked them to go away, and they didn’t. We said, this case is over the top, and we're going to file an early summary judgment motion." Once that motion was filed, ICR's lawyers at Niro Scavone dropped the case. (ICR's suit against the second defendant, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, is still pending.)