Auctioned Patents Emerge in Litigation in 2010

In reviewing the statistical tea leaves of IP litigation trends for 2010, one aspect that now stands out is the number of cases involving auctioned patents. There are 15 such cases asserting 20 auctioned patents. Some of the highlights of these 15 cases are:

• US 6,526,219 for “Picture-based video indexing system” had a projected auction price of $250,000, but ended up sold for $700,000. InMotion Imagery Technologies, LLC asserted this patent in three cases in the Eastern District of Texas.

• In November 2010, Facebook filed a declaratory judgment against Phoenix Media / Communications for US 6,199,157, “System, method and medium for managing information”, which was originally assigned to Applied Materials. The expected price of this patent was $250,000 in the auction catalog, but sold for only $100,000.

• Intellectual Ventures asserts US 5,987,610 entitled “Computer virus screening methods and systems” against Checkpoint Software. ‘610 was offered for an expected value of $1,000,000 and sold for $770,000 at the live auction.

• Groupon asserts US 6,269,343, “On-line marketing system and method” against MobGob, LLC. The ‘343 patent was expected to fetch $500,000, but didn’t sell at the live portion of the auction.

• Three patents that originated at Ford Motor 5,239,955, 5,313,919, and 5,482,637 entitled “Low friction reciprocating piston assembly” were asserted by NISTAC against Nissan. NISTAC is National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization of Manhattan, Kansas. The patents were donated to NISTAC, but did not sell when offered at auction.

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