Saturday, April 28, 2007

Motorola prevails over University of Texas in '112 patent/text messaging case

Motorola obtained an order granting summary judgment of non-infringement in a patent case brought by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (“University of Texas System”). The Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas issued an order finding that certain Motorola handsets do not infringe U.S. Patent No. 4,674,112 (“the ‘112 patent”).

University of Texas System, represented by Michael W. Shore of the Dallas law firm of Shore Chan Bragalone, has asserted the ‘112 patent against Motorola and over 30 additional handset manufacturers. Shore has claimed that the ‘112 patent covers software used for text messaging on nearly all mobile handsets and that University of Texas System is owed hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. In rejecting Shore’s claims, the Court found that University of Texas System is trying to interpret the claims of the ‘112 patent in a manner inconsistent with what University of Texas System’s lawyers told the Patent Office in order to obtain the grant of the ‘112 patent. “Plaintiff cannot have it one way at prosecution and another way during infringement litigation”, the Court stated.


Certain text in the Texas/Motorola matter reminds one of issues in patent reform:

"The University waited silently for many years while Motorola and many other companies developed text-entry technology for mobile phones, then claimed millions of dollars in damages only as the patent expired," stated Jonathan P. Meyer, Motorola, senior vice president for intellectual property law, in a written statement.

If there is a patent troll in this matter, it is the University of Texas.


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