On Wednesday, an Illinois federal judge tossed a handful of lawsuits aimed at such heavyweights as the New York Times Co. and CBS Corp.
The suits alleged that the aforementioned companies infringed on Helferich Patent Licensing LLC patents.
According to the IBT, Helferich Patent Licensing asserted that the targets of its legal proceedings infringed on patents on systems used to distribute hyperlinks with breaking news and product alerts to customers through text messages.
The so-called patent troll — a shell company that doesn’t produce anything but makes money suing firms — has sued dozens of companies since 2008 and sent notice letters to at least 121 others, including Apple Inc. and The Walt Disney Company, which paid $750,000 per content license.
Lead by The Times Co., the five defendants – which also included J.C. Penney Company, Inc., Bravo Media LLC and G4 Media, Inc. – joined forces to effectively wage a concerted fight against Helferich.
And it worked.
Judge Darrah shot down Helferich’s claim, determining that the patents in question were exhausted by virtue of having already been licensed to the mobile phone companies that produce handsets.
“The doctrine of patent exhaustion is designed to avoid double recovery by a patentee, promote the orderly administration of patent rights, provide an efficient method for determining the termination of a patent monopoly, and promote fair competition,” Darrah asserted in his opinion. “To permit Helferich to recover multiple times on the same patent by selling licenses to the patents piece by piece (or claim by claim) is contradictory to these policies.”