More

        

          

    HomeInsightsA win-win situation for all?

    A win-win situation for all?

    -

    First read this opening paragraph from a Visto press release issued recently:
    “Visto awarded permanent injunction and damages in patent case against SEVEN Networks. Court fines SEVEN with double damages and attorney fees for the willful infringement of Visto’s patents.

    ” height=”<% height %>” align=”right” alt=”A win-win situation for all?” class=”articleimage” />

    The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has issued its final judgment awarding Visto Corporation double damages (a total of $7.7M) plus costs and attorneys’ fees for SEVEN Networks’ willful infringement of Visto’s patented intellectual property. The opinion follows a ruling from the jury on April 28, 2006 that SEVEN willfully infringed on the system that Visto created over a decade ago. The judge also granted a permanent injunction against SEVEN Networks, which will be stayed pending appeal.”
    Then read Seven’s own interpretation of events:
    “Court Dismisses Visto Claim and Stays Injunction
    The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered final judgment and dismissed one of the five patent claims asserted against Seven. The Court also stayed Visto’s request for an immediate injunction on the remaining four claims pending appeal. SEVEN and its customers can continue to use and sell all of SEVEN’s products as before. No new developments are expected in this case until early 2008 when the appeals process is due to complete.”

    So, spin aside, this is what seems to have happened. In April this year, a jury found that Seven had infringed on five claims relating to three Visto patents and awarded Visto $3.6 million damages. Seven appealed, and yesterday the result of that appeal was that a judge doubled the damages and awarded costs against Seven. He also issued a permanent injunction against Seven using products incorporating the technology.
    At the same time, one of the claims Visto had made was rejected by the judge, and the judge also stayed his injunction on Seven pending a further appeal.
    Back in April, Seven said it was working on a work-around in the event of any injunction, meaning its customers would be unaffected. Visto ceo Brian Bogosian told Mobile Europe that the patents are so crucial as work around would be unlikely.
    Seven is hanging on to that stay of execution by its fingernails, stating that its customers, “can continue to use and sell all of SEVEN’s products as before. No new developments are expected in this case until early 2008 when the appeals process is due to complete.”
    The company said that despite these serial reverses it expects things to go its way eventually. It also has a counter-claim filed against Visto which is due to come to court in June 2007.
    Meanwhile Visto, which has seen four of its five claims upheld, doubled damages and costs awarded, and an injunction granted, is understandably cock-a-hoop.
    “Justice has been served. Today’s decision heralds a victory for true innovation and for lawful invention, whether it is conceived by a large corporation or by a passionate few toiling in the dim lights of a garage,” said Brian Bogosian, Visto’s Chairman, President and CEO. “SEVEN’s unlawful misappropriation of Visto’s technology has been uncovered for what it is: a flagrant violation of our property rights. We hope that all responsible entities will respect the decision of the Court.”