My second installment of Patent Connections is available here and discusses bankruptcy liquidation leading to patent litigation, which is also a topic I touched on with respect to the Silicon Graphics litigation. My column actually mentions the SGI cases as an example of how lawyer’s have learned from the tragic mistake made in Morrow v. Microsoft:
Since GUCLT lacked standing to sue Microsoft for infringement of the ’647 patent, the district court lacked jurisdiction. Thus, we will not consider the appealed infringement issues on the merits. We reverse as to standing and vacate the infringement rulings.
Translation: it doesn’t matter whether Microsoft infringes the patents, you busted up the patent rights and eviscerated the plaintiff’s right to sue in the first place.
My column also talks about the amazing success story behind Papst Licensing, which was mentioned on Phillip Brooks’ blog awhile back:
Papst Motoren, was subject to wide-scale patent infringements. In the 1980s, competitors, above all in Asia, began to illegally copy the patented drive motors of Papst Motoren GmbH & Co. KG and dump them on the world market. The founder Georg Papst did not think that he was in a position to be able to effectively proceed against the infringements of his patents. In 1992, the house banks cancelled the line of credit and Georg Papst had to sell his company. He invested the revenue from the sale, at high risk, in buying back the around 600 patents and patent applications in order to prosecute the infringements of them. He founded Papst Licensing GmbH & Co. KG, bought the products of the infringers and examined them. If he were able to ascertain patent infringement, he would call in licence fees from the patent infringers. It was a David against Goliath battle. The patent-infringing companies thought that they could sit out the problem and that Georg Papst would run out of funds. However, he stuck to his guns and took the case to court where necessary. This resulted in more than 140 licensing agreements with many well-known companies in the IT and electronics sectors.