Our Massachusetts technology attorneys have posted here frequently about the need to protect intellectual property and the need for young companies to defend against allegations involving the theft of intellectual property.
Eagle Harbor Holdings and MediusTech claim Ford used their patent technology in the Sync system and in other in-car technologies, include Active Park Assist, Blind-Spot Identification System with Cross Traffic Alert, Integrated Control System for Stability Control and MyKey.
The Sync system allows people to integrate smartphones and other devices with their vehicle. Users can choose to have e-mails read to them and pick songs on the stereo via voice command. Eagle Harbor’s attorney estimates damages could be in the millions. Ford has thus far declined to comment.
Ever-changing technology makes protecting intellectual property via the patent process more important than ever before. So important, in fact, that tech companies are paying billions to snap up the patent rights to technology owned by failing enterprises. Bloomberg News recently reported that Google lost in its $4.5 billion bid for the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks Corp. Google is said to be using its $36.7 billion war chest to snap up available patents in part to protect itself against a slew of patent lawsuits.
In April, Google offered $900 million to buy more than 6,000 patents owned by a Canadian phone maker in bankruptcy protection.
The winner of the Nortel auction? Apple Inc.
Presently, Google owns little more than 700 patents. Last year it acquired approximately 300 patents. Apple, meanwhile, acquired more than 550 and Microsoft took control of more than 3,000. In recent months, Google has been sued by Oracle Corp. over technology in Android, its smartphone operating system. Apple, meanwhile, has sued several makers of phones using the Android platform, including HTC Corp. and Samsung Electronics.
Oracle claims in a federal patent- and copyright infringement lawsuit that Google copied Java programming language technology; the lawsuit seeks $6.1 billion in damages.
Google and Microsoft have been compared as both companies shunned patents in their infancy, only to race to protect themselves as they grew into economic and technological powerhouses. Ten years ago, Microsoft ranked 44th among companies receiving U.S. patents. Today it is third behind International Business Machines Corp and Samsung.
The Massachusetts business law attorneys at The Brown Law Firm, LLC are available for no-cost, confidential consultations. Call (617) 489-0817.
Ford’s Sync system draws patent infringement suit, by Chris Woodyard, USA Today.