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Microsoft Word Judgement Issued In "Patent Pirates" Court In Texas

Some might find it curious that a technology company, i4i, which is based in Toronto, Canada, decides to sue Microsoft, which is based in Seattle in a District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and not elsewhere.

Turns out that the court has been involved in a number of judgements that involved some very high profile technology companies, which some have called an "ol patent happy place" and which is very popular with patent lawyers it seems.

The number of patent cases grew from 14 in 2003 to more than 230 in 2006 and the district has been criticised for a perceived bias towards plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits which got MIT's Technological review to coin the federal court as "A Haven for Patent Pirates (opens in new tab)"

In November 2008, Motiva LLC (opens in new tab) sued Nintendo for infringing U.S. Pat. No. 7,292,151 which relates to "a system and methods for setup and measuring the position and orientation (pose) of transponders."

The patent was filed in July 2005, 14 months before the Nintendo Wii was launched. The case is still apparently going on or else the Nintendo would have had an injunction to stop selling the Wii console.

Back in April 2006, IBM and Boston-based Sky Technologies LLC settled in that same court a lawsuit brought by Sky Technologies (not related to Murdoch's Sky) alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets by Big Blue.

Under the terms of the settlement, IBM agreed to license Sky's patents and technology for conducting online negotiation and financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

A few month later, eInstruction Corporation settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Qwizdom over U.S. Patent No. 6,895,213 entitled "System and Method for Communicating with Students in an Education Environment" which related amongst other things to "a graphical user interface for use in connection with remote units operated by users".

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.