Communications, Google, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and
Ericsson. Unlike RPX, AST is a nonprofit company and consults
with its members on which patents to buy. The membership fee is
put into an escrow account so the money can contribute to the
purchase of more patents. AST also promises not to assert any
patents, and members are given rights to all intellectual properties
owned. According to its Web site, the company has 11 members
and a goal of 30 to 40.
Many corporations are involved with these types of intellectual
property managers because they want to avoid an expensive infringement trial, but they also want protection for valuable
patents that have not yet been bought by NPEs. In an effort to repair this malfunctioning system, an amendment is being considered that could change US patent law for the better.
Patent reform act
Because of the increasingly large number of lawsuits filed by
patent trolls, tech industries, along with the Coalition for Patent
Fairness, are proposing the Patent Reform Act of 2008. Section
284 of Title 35 emphasizes compensation, limitations and measures for damages resulting from an infringement. Currently, even
if a patent makes up only a small portion of a company’s operating system, royalty amounts are based on the entire value of an
If the bill, which has been cleared by the House of Representatives, is accepted by the Senate, those costly damage settlements
would be discontinued and, alternatively, the court would assign
an apportioned fee that is appropriate to the infringed patent
under debate. The objective is to reduce unnecessary litigations,
which, in turn, could decrease the revenue that patent trolls rely
on most to operate. And, in the case of Intellectual Ventures, it
may help to lessen Myhrvold’s power to exact multimillion-dollar
licensing deals from corporations.
Amanda D. Francoeur
3M, EV Group Settle Patent Infringement Suit
3M of St. Paul, Minn., a product research and development company, and
EV Group of St. Florian, Austria, a wafer-processing solutions provider,
have agreed to settle patent infringement litigation related to temporary wafer
bonding brought by the latter against the former in US District Court.
Under terms of the settlement, the Minnesota company, its customers and
licensed suppliers of its wafer support system will continue to make, sell
and use the system in global semiconductor and packaging markets. The
Austrian company will continue to defend and protect its patent portfolio
and intellectual property.
Surface-Mountable LED Chip Patented
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bridgelux Inc., an LED technology supplier, has
been awarded a US patent for its surface-mountable chip design. By eliminating the need for traditional LED packaging, this architecture is anticipated to change how the devices will be deployed. The design will offer
high flux density with an ultrasmall footprint and thin profile as well as the
ability to closely pack multiple chips in space-limited applications, including
camera flash, LCD display backlighting, and general or specialty lighting.
Crimson Trace, LaserMax Patent Infringement
In Oregon, Crimson Trace Corp. Inc. of Wilsonville, a handgun laser sighting systems manufacturer, has filed a suit in US District Court in Portland
against Laser Max Inc. of Rochester, N. Y., for its infringement of four US patents.
The Oregon business cited patent infringement against the New York company’s J-Max, Sabre and Uni-Max products. Crimson Trace seeks court-or-dered injunctive relief and unspecified damages for patents related to laser
sighting devices for firearms.