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Wi-Fi could be killed by a troll

by on04 October 2011

Patents just got even sillier
A new patent troll has appeared on the scene claiming that anyone who runs a wireless Internet has to pay it loads of money. US Innovatio IP Ventures is suing every outfit offers wireless Internet to customers, filing six infringement lawsuits this month against individual branches of some of the country’s largest hotel chains.

So far the outfit has been making claims against coffee shops and department stores. It should not be long before it starts demanding money, with legal menaces, against American home connections.

Matthew McAndrews, a partner at Chicago-based law firm Niro, Haller & Niro, and the lead litigator for Innovatio in its infringement lawsuits said that he is not thinking of doing that “at this stage.” Since March, he has filed 13 infringement suits.

At the moment the outfit demands a one-time lump sum licensing payment between $2,300 and $5,000 from each of the several hundred defendants targeted in its lawsuits, McAndrews said. Some of the defendants have already written cheques to make the case go away.

Most of the patents Innovatio is asserting in its lawsuits were invented in the 1990s and early 2000s, by a bloke called Robert Meier and the late Ronald Mahany. They worked for outfits acquired by Broadcom. The patents changed owners several times but ended up in Innovatio’s hands on February 28, about one week before Innovatio began asserting them in litigation.

However it might not go all Innovatio’s way. Its first batch of law suits triggered retaliation from wireless communications giants Motorola and Cisco. In May, Motorola and Cisco moaned to a court about the patents and asked it to rule that their products don’t infringe, and declare Innovatio’s patents invalid.

More here.

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