Via PriorSmart‘s Daily Litigation Alerts, LG (makers of everything from HD TVs and mobile phones to refrigerators) has been sued by Industrial Technology Research Institute (“ITRI), not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times in one day. The four combined lawsuits allege infringement of 12 patents (links and list below the jump). ITRI’s homepage features an image that will, for some, immediately color their intentions with this lawsuit:
According to ITRI’s “About Us” page, they have collaborated with a number of US universities, including my alma mater Georgia Tech. Last week, I wrote about how private research can lead to patent litigation. Academic research sometimes leads there as well, which is a topic I’ll address a little later. (Note, I haven’t yet examined whether any of the patents at issue here were the result of any academic-level research. But the fact that ITRI collaborates with universities and maintains an IP pooling/licensing business is noteworthy).
The patents in suit are:
I haven’t looked at any of these patents yet, but their titles suggest most are relevant to LCD technology in one form or another.
Representing ITRI is the lawfirm Shore Chan, the same firm that represented Acacia-owned Software Tree in their recent litigation with Red Hat.
The magnitude of this lawsuit alone suggests that it was not a complete surprise, and other IP-news publications will undoubtedly say that LG either:
- Has no comment, or
- Is reviewing the complaint and will defend itself vigorously
(Just once, would it be too much to ask for a corporate PR rep to get on the phone and tell reporters, “Yeah, they’ve been calling and leaving messages on our machine for a month, saying something about patents and licenses… We thought they’d just go away.”)
In any event, to quote IP Scholar Adam Mossoff:
Oftentimes the way a party signals to another party in one’s industry, ‘I’m serious about this–you need to speak with me,’ is by filing a lawsuit.
ITRI is sure to get LG’s attention (not to mention the attention of others in the LCD TV space) with a lawsuit like this … and associates working at LG’s outside counsel may not need to worry about how to get those last 100 hours in before year end …