On May 22, 2012, STEC IP, LLC, filed patent infringement complaint against Oracle Corporation in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The patents alleged to be infringed by Oracle are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,596,784, 7,065,637, 6,738,799, 5,944,839, 5,825,891, 5,678,042, 5,495,607, 7,254,621 and 6,925,481.
On the same day as the Oracle complaint was filed STEC IP also filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement against Amazon.com in Delaware. The patents alleged to be infringed by Amazon are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,596,784, 7,065,637, 6,738,799, 5,944,839, 5,825,891, 5,495,607, 6,925,481, 7,254,621, 6,631,449, 6,918,014 and 6,963,908.
Similarly, also on May 22, 2012, STEC filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement against Apple, also in Delaware. The patents alleged to be infringed by Apple are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,032,089, 6,738,799, 5,495,607, 6,925,481, 7,254,621, 6,963,908 and 5,825,891.
All of these patents asserted by STEC IP in these lawsuits were acquired by the company from the original assignee, Symantec Corporation. Each of these patents is also the subject of an ongoing patent research study being conducted by Article One Partners.
See the following studies, for example:
- AOP Search 1683, which relates to the ’891 patent
- AOP Search 1684, which relates to the ’839 patent
- AOP Search 1685, which relates to the ’908 patent
- AOP Search 1686, which relates to the ’637 patent
- AOP Search 1687, which relates to the ’784 patent
- AOP Search 1688, which relates to both the ’042 patent and ’607 patent
- AOP Search 1693, which relates to both the and ’481 patent and ’621 patent
- AOP Search 1695, which relates to the ’799 patent
Little information about STEC IP seems available. In the complaints filed they explain only that they are a Delaware limited liability company having a principle place of business in Greensboro, North Carolina. Under Delaware law Members of the LLC (i.e., owners) may remain anonymous, therefore, those who are behind STEC IP may remain a mystery. See The Beginners Guide to Delaware LLCs. Of course, it is known that STEC IP is being represented by Richard Kirk of Bayard and Mark Hogge of SNR Denton, both of whom are listed as attorneys for STEC IP in the respective filings.
While it may seem logical to assume that Oracle, Amazon and Apple are behind these Article One patent studies, I would caution against jumping to conclusions. In May 2011, Article One launched what they refer to as their Litigation Avoidance program. Litigation Avoidance is designed to help companies analyze and act on patents of questionable quality. The program typically seeks to identify patents pre-litigation and distributes requests to its network of researchers — over one million scientists and technologists — to research the validity of the patents. Litigation Avoidance clients receive access to all of the collections that have been researched in the program.
Of course, these patents are already in litigation, at least insofar as Apple, Amazon and Oracle are concerned. It is known that Microsoft is a member of the Litigation Avoidance program, but other members of the program are not known at this time. Thus, it is conceivable that these Studies were not undertaken at the request of anyone currently getting sued. It would seem logical for Article One Partners to identify a growing litigation problem and undertake such research to make it available to all members of the Litigation Avoidance program. After all, if STEC IP is suing Apple, Amazon and Oracle there will be others sued in subsequent rounds of patent litigation.
In addition to the aformentioned STEC IP Studies, Article One Partners currently has 43 open and active patent studies. Some that may be of particular interest may include those that follow. To participate as a researcher to submit prior art to these or any other AOP study you can register by visiting Article One Researcher Overview.
Method for rating websites/webpages
Study closes on September 14, 2012
This Study has a short deadline and only seeks non-patent literature. The study closes on September 14, 2012, so if you are inclined to want to participate time is of the essence. The search for non-patent literature seeks references that disclose the following elements: (1) When a user hovers a cursor over a “Feedback” icon a balloon with two options appears, directing the user to select either “I’m a customer” or “I’m not a customer” links; (2) When the user selects either of the above referenced “customer” links it causes a commentary card to appear on the host web page; and (3) Both of the “I’m a customer” or “I’m not a customer” commentary cards are identical. There are further explanations of what will constitute winning prior art on the study page.
Screen scraper for trash rocks
Study closes on September 17, 2012
This Study relates to a screen scraper for trash screens that are installed in a stream of flowing water, and is associated with U.S. Patent No. 5,425,875. References of interest will focus on devices for cleaning debris from an upright screen in a fluid stream. Specifically, the focus of the search is on an apparatus having: (1) A rotable drum mounted above a trash screen; and (2) One or more endless chain loops mounted on and driven by the drum. In ideal references the drum will pivot upstream and downstream in response to impacts on the chain. There will also be a receiver to collect the debris removed by the scrapers and there will be no roller or other structure at the bottom of the chain opposite the drum.
Dynamic power management via frequency and voltage scaling
Study closes September 24, 2012
This Study relates to software support for dynamic power management in digital systems, and is associated with U.S. Patent No. 7,155,617. More specifically, AOP is interested in references that disclose a digital system with a processor having multiple processing cores each core associated with a clock, wherein each clock has ALL of the following features:(1) Accepts clock configuration data, which includes frequency values for each clock associated with each of the multiple processing cores; (2) Accepts voltage configuration data, which include the voltage points of a voltage regulator and an associated maximum frequency level for each of the voltage points; (3) Determines a number of setpoints for each of the multiple processing cores. The number of setpoints generated for each of the multiple processing cores corresponds to the number of frequency values from step a and each setpoint contains a frequency value and minimum voltage point required for the frequency value; and (4) Changes the setpoint of a processing core based upon a request from an entity of the digital system.
Study closes on October 10, 2012
This Study relates to a method of communicating between different types of telecommunication networks. References of interest will describe a method of converting a call traffic coming from either a digital, analog, or cellular telecommunications network protocol to an internet-based protocol and then back. Also of potential interest are references that relate to interfacing between a public switched telephone network (“PSTN”) interface and a packet switched network, where it is a PSTN to an internet based protocol (IP, TCP/IP) and then back to PSTN e.g., with a VoIP system.
DISCLAIMER: Although Article One Partners is a major sponsor of IPWatchdog.com, no information non-public information about any study has been provided to me. While I do write a weekly article about interesting research Studies AOP currently has ongoing, I do not know who AOP’s clients are that may have requested any particular Study. Likewise, I have no inside information related to why any particular study may have been undertaken. Nevertheless, as I write this weekly column I do research and from time to time stumble across ongoing litigation. That does not suggest that AOP has given me access to such information. It merely means I was able to find it through publicly available documents. Furthermore, any speculation on my part is just that — speculation.- - - - - - - - - -
For information on this and related topics please see these archives:
Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents
About the Author
Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.