Rembrandt wins infringement verdict against Samsung over Bluetooth
From PRNewswire post titled Rembrandt Technologies Wins $15.7 Million Jury Verdict in Patent Infringement Case Against Samsung
MARSHALL, Texas, Feb. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A Texas federal jury has awarded $15.7 million to Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP after finding that Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. infringed on two Rembrandt patents covering Bluetooth technology.
Jurors deliberated only one hour before issuing the Feb. 13 verdict. The five-day trial focused on two Rembrandt patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. In addition to the $15.7 million award, Rembrandt also will receive royalty payments on all Samsung Bluetooth sales for the life of the patents.
Rembrandt, a Pennsylvania-based business technology company, sued Samsung and Blackberry Ltd. in 2013. Blackberry settled before the trial. Rembrandt argued that its patents for Bluetooth "enhanced data rate" inventions were infringed by Samsung in its Galaxy S phones.
"Justice was done here. The Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities," says Demetrios Anaipakos, a partner at Houston-based Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing P.C. or AZA. Other AZA lawyers representing Rembrandt were Amir Alavi, Alisa Lipski, Kyril Talanov and Jamie Alan Aycock.
The Washington Post quotes Joe Mullin:
"Gordon Bremer didn't invent Bluetooth 2.0. In fact, as he admitted on the stand last week in an east Texas federal court, he hadn't even read the specification for it until 2007—three years after it was on the market," writes Joe Mullin at Ars Technica. "Despite that, Bremer may be getting paid a hefty royalty by Samsung, after a jury ruled that the Korean electronics company infringed Bremer's patents. He stands to get 2.5 percent of the $15.7 million verdict won by his employer, Rembrandt IP, one of the oldest and most successful 'patent trolls.'"
Wired wrote of the case
The Bluetooth case revolved around patents filed by inventor Gordon Bremer in 1997. The jury decided that certain features introduced in Bluetooth 2.0 in 2004—specifically Enhanced Data Rate—violated those patents, which are now owned by Rembrandt. The company also sued BlackBerry for infringement, and settled out of court.
Ars Technica reports that although Bremer didn’t market any products based on those patents himself, he did shop the ideas around to various technology companies.
Companies like Rembrandt, which will pay Bremer a percentage of the settlement, claim that they’re helping small time inventors get fair compensation for inventions being exploited by large technology companies. “Justice was done here,” said Demetrios Anaipakos, a partner the law firm Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing, which represented Rembrandt, in an announcement this week. “The Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities.”
But critics argue that they’re harming innovation by filing frivolous lawsuits and making it difficult to create new products without fear of litigation. “This is a classic example of patents as an attack on innovation,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Daniel Nazer. “There’s nothing to suggest that this guy contributed anything to the [Bluetooth] technology we used today.”
What makes this case particularly troublesome, Nazer says, is that it’s hard enough for companies to converge on an industry wide standard like Bluetooth without companies from outside the standardization process stepping in with lawsuits. “When [companies] create products and put them on the market—even if they haven’t copied someone else’s work—they’re going to be subject to all sorts of suits,” he says.