Apple, Others Hit with Spam Email Patent Lawsuit

| News

Apple, Google and several other companies are the target of a new lawsuit from InNova Patent Licensing alleging they’re using spam filtering technology it owns without paying licensing fees. The case names 36 different companies and was filed in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas — a court known for being sympathetic to patent holders.

The patent in question, 6,018,761, describes a system to differentiate between legit email messages and spam, or junk mail messages. InNova’s lead counsel, Christopher Banys, claimed the patent is “one of the building blocks for all email communications.”

“Email as we know it would essentially stop working if it weren’t for InNova’s invention,” he said.

Along with Apple and Google, the patent names several other big-name companies such as Bank of America, HP, IBM, RIM, Yahoo!, Alcatel-Lucnet, and more.

InNova is a patent holding company and is presumably looking to force the defendants to pay licensing fees or to negotiate cash settlements.

Apple has not commented on InNova Patent Licensing’s lawsuit.

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6 Comments Leave Your Own

Mouring

Ermm.. That can’t be the right US Patent Number.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT6018761

“An apparatus and method is provided for obtaining message context information regardless of whether or not the sender includes context information, such as full name, address, telephone number, etc. [..]”

It has nothing to do with SPAM filtering, but with providing information about the sender.

jbruni

I think these companies are just throwing stuff on the wall since they know their days are numbered (cf. Bilski).

geoduck

The article on MacRumors says the patent was awarded nearly 15 years ago. Isn’t there something in Patent Law about having to defend your patent in a timely fashion or you lose it? If you let everyone use your invention you essentially have put it in the public domain? IANAL so don’t quote me on this.

cb50dc

Maybe correlating with jbruni: I can’t judge the merits of the case, but it seems that some parties know that if they demand, ohhhh, $50 million and can put up any semi-plausible claim, they may get, say, $5 million just to go away.

ctopher

Hey for $5000, I’ll not post again! smile

cb50dc

Hey for $5000, I?ll not post again! smile

Sellout! :D

(Dang, now I have to lower my price…)

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