Cisco, Motorola and Netgear attack patent troll

Cisco Systems, Motorola Solutions and Netgear are suing a patent company they accuse of racketeering for its efforts to shake down payments from businesses, including hotels and cafes, that offer Wi-Fi service to customers.

Around 18 months ago, Innovatio IP Ventures began demanding patent infringement payments from companies  including department stores, coffee shops and restaurant chains, including Caribou Coffee and Panera Bread. The company later expanded its patent litigation shakedown to hotels as well.

Cisco and Motorola filed a lawsuit last year against Innovatio in which they sought preemptive judgments of invalidity and non-infringement of 17 patents in order to protect users of their Wi-Fi equipment. But Bloomberg Businessweek reports the companies have augmented that suit with allegations that Innovatio is guilty of "fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and other forms of unfair and unlawful conduct," according to an 81-page document filed in Chicago with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Innovatio--said to license patents obtained from chipmaker Broadcom--was reportedly founded by Noel Whitley, Broadcom's former vice president of intellectual property.

Innovatio denied many allegations made by Cisco and Motorola in a July response to their initial complaint and also countersued for patent infringement.

According to Techdirt, Motorola, Cisco and Netgear say in the latest court filing that they each have already licensed all of the patents in question. Therefore, end-users of their equipment should be protected from Innovatio's patent claims. In addition, the filing alleges Innovatio has included at least 10 expired patents on the list of patents for which it is demanding payment.

Innovatio, according to the lawsuit, has sent demand letters to more than 8,000 businesses. The company tries to get payments of $2,500 to $3,000 from the cafes and other outlets it targets, said Techdirt.

For more:
- see this Businessweek article
- see this Techdirt blog entry

Related articles:
Can developers join forces to defeat the patent troll scourge?
Australia's CSIRO sues U.S. mobile operators over WiFi patents
CSIRO settles WiFi patent dispute with 14 companies

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