Thursday, December 11, 2008

BYU/Torion sue Hitachi over mass spec patent

Deseret News reports that Brigham Young University (Provo) and Torion Technologies Inc., a closely held Utah company, assert Hitachi High-Technologies (of Schaumburg, Ill. ) NanoFrontier machines fall within the scope of claims to mass-spectrometry inventions patented by the university and licensed to Torion. Damages and an injunction are sought.

The news story seems premised on some faulty logic: Hitachi High-Technologies has filed at least three patent applications for the NanoFrontier machine, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office initially rejected one of them by saying the invention was covered by the Brigham Young patent, according to the complaint filed Monday in federal court in Salt Lake City.

IPBiz notes that devices infringe patent claims, and that patent applications do not. The legal issue is whether he NanoFrontier machine falls within the scope of claims of the BYU patent. This case is another example of a university suing a for-profit company.


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