Judge Sides With Wi-Fi Patent Troll Over Cisco

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  

The federal case that was supposed to bring a halt to patent troll Innovatio’s ongoing shakedown of hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops took a strange turn when a federal judge threw out racketeering allegations brought by Cisco, Motorola and Netgear.

Purveyors of public Wi-Fi networks beware. The federal case that was supposed to bring a halt to patent troll Innovatio IP Ventures LLC’s ongoing shakedown of hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and the like took a strange turn this week when a federal judge threw out racketeering allegations brought by Cisco Systems Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc. and Netgear Inc.

The racketeering case brought by the technology heavyweights was seen by many as a way to end Innovatio’s two-year campaign of questionable licensing collections brought against major hotel chains such as Hyatt Corp., Marriott Hotels, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ramada Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, Super 8 Hotels, and Travelodge and later expanded to include smaller businesses like Caribou Coffee, Cosí and Panera Bread Co.

Related articles

Innovatio, which has rolled up a spate of decades-old patents left over from the portfolio of chip maker Broadcom Corp., claims pretty much anyone who uses Wi-Fi, including individuals and home users, owes them money for the use of technologies they control the rights to. According to the Patent Examiner blog, Innovatio is suing for royalties it claims each location owes for unlicensed use of wireless local area network (WLAN) technology features covered under a portfolio of 31 patents the company holds. So far, Innovatio’s focus has been on deep-pocketed clients of the major networking gear manufacturers.

According to Bloomberg News, U.S. District Judge James Holderman in Chicago on Tuesday dismissed the joint Cisco, Motorola and Netgear allegations that Innovation was engaging in racketeering by unlawfully demanding licensing fees from some of its biggest corporate customers. In a 34-page ruling on the matter, Judge Holderman said the tech vendors did not “establish that Innovatio’s licensing campaign alleging infringement of the Innovatio patents is a sham.”

The judge did, however leave the door open to further action by Cisco, Motorola and Netgear against Innovatio for breach of contract with regard to agreements the trio made with previous holders of the patents, some of which have already expired.

“Innovatio is pleased with, but not surprised by, the court’s ruling,” Matthew McAndrews, Innovatio’s lead counsel, tells Bloomberg. “Now that Cisco’s legal misdirection has hit a dead end, it will have to turn its attention to the real merits of this dispute: the defendants’ infringement of more than 350 of Innovatio’s patent claims and the appropriate measure of damages for that infringement.”

Anyone engaged in the implementation or maintenance of Wi-Fi hot spots for business clients should keep an eye on this convoluted case, which has the potential of making "free" wireless Internet access a whole lot more expensive for everyone involved.

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
More on Channel Business

Value over volume, RackWare says of expanded channel partner program

Aim is to have the right coverage with close relationships, VP says


The velvet divorce? Options and disruptions to come from HP split

News that Hewlett-Packard is breaking into two companies continues to reverberate through the channel. While the ultimate impact on HP partners and customers remains unclear, the new entities will have plenty of options for plying their futures


Channel strikes gold selling to non-techies

Tech sales staff busy selling to business units as much as tech staff, according to Gartner


Welcome to the new Channelnomics

Channelnomics goes live with new-look site. Join us on Twitter to give us your thoughts - @channelnomics

Visitor comments
Add comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

Microsoft Getting Healthy, Thanks to Consumers

Is it time to take the software giant off the watch list of tech companies in distress, at least on the consumer side, asks Larry Walsh

John Murdock - Kaspersky Lab

Vendor Q&A Series: John Murdock, Kaspersky Lab

The latest executive to sit in the channelnomics hotseat is John Murdock, Vice President, Channel Sales, Kaspersky Lab North America

Broken heart

An amicable split?

Where will HP and Symantec's conclusion that the sum of their parts is greater than the whole leave partners?


Suspicious minds in the post-Snowden world

Investment in new technologies being avoided with security experts wary of cloud and new technologies post-Snowden