This week: Japanese office equipment manufacturer Ricoh tried to cash in on patent litigation in a market in which it no longer competes—and succeeded. But when it sought an injunction, the company didn't make out any better than your run-of-the-mill patent troll.
Last November, Japan-based Ricoh Company and Taiwan's Quanta Computer faced off in a federal courtroom in Madison, Wisconsin. At issue was Ricoh's claim that Quanta optical drives infringed two Ricoh patents, Nos. 6,661,755 and 5,063,552. The jury ultimately agreed, and awarded Ricoh $14.5 million in damages.Ricoh's lawyers, from Washington, D.C.-based Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, moved swiftly to claim to what they believed should be their real reward: an injunction shutting down Quanta's optical drive business until the Taiwanese company—which assembles disk drives for Sony, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell—agreed to license the Ricoh patents. And Ricoh's lawyers made it clear in court documents that a license was not going to come cheap.