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January 3, 2007, Alert No. 1,513.
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Washington Research Foundation Files Bluetooth Patent Infringement Action

12/20. The Washington Research Foundation (WRF) filed a complaint [8 pages in PDF] in U.S. District Court (WDWash) against Matsushita, Panasonic, Samsung and Nokia alleging infringement of several patents related to radio frequency receiver technology, and especially Bluetooth technology.

The complaint states that the WRF "was founded in 1981 to assist universities and other nonprofit research institutions in the State of Washington with commercialization of their technologies and to provide support, through gifts and grants, for scholarship and research."

The complaint states that Edwin Suominen is the inventor of the patented inventions, and that he assigned his interests to the University of Washington, which in turn assigned its interests to the WRF.

The complaint identifies two manufacturers of chipsets of Bluetooth enabled devices, Broadcom Corporation and CSR plc. The complaint states that WRF has licensed the technology at issue to Broadcom, but not to CSR, and that the defendants have manufactured, imported into the U.S., and sold in the U.S. Bluetooth enabled devices that contain CSR chipsets.

The complaint adds that the WRF is not alleging infringement as to defendants' devices that include Broadcom chipsets.

The patents listed in the complaint are all titled "Simplified High Frequency Broadband Tuner and Tuning Method". They are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,937,341, 6,427,068, 6,631,256, and 7,116,963. The complaint also lists two patent applications.

The complaint requests a judgment that defendants have directly, contributorily, and by inducement, infringed certain claims of the '963 patent. The complaint also requests injunctive relief, damages, enhanced damages for willful infringement, and attorneys fees.

Broadcom is not a plaintiff in this action. CSR is not named as a defendant.

TLJ spoke with John Reagh, Managing Director of the WRF. He stated that he is aware of no related lawsuits. He also said that the WRF does not anticipate amending the complaint to add other defendants.

This case is Washington Research Foundation v. Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, Lmited, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Samsung Electronics Company, Samsung Electronics America, Incorporated, Nokia Corporation, and Nokia Incorporated, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Intertainer Files Patent Infringement Complaint Regarding Video on Demand Technology

12/29. Intertainer filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDTex) against Apple, Google and Napster alleging patent infringement.

The one count complaint alleges infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,925,469, titled "Digital entertainment service platform".

The abstract of this patent states that "The present invention is directed to an open business platform that provides an end-to-end solution for managing, distributing, and/or retailing digital media assets from various content suppliers. In one or more embodiments, the present invention provides an integrated system that permits media content suppliers to deposit their media assets with the system where they are prepared by a content management system for distribution to consumers via a secure distribution system. The media content suppliers may then track and-control the use of their media assets through a subscriber management system for managing consumer accounts, a licensing server for issuing licenses restricting the use of media content, and a royalty reporter for determining and reporting royalties to the various content suppliers."

The complaint requests a judgment that the defendants have directly, contributorily, and by inducement, infringed the patent in suit. The complaint also requests injunctive relief, or in the alternative, "a compulsory ongoing licensing fee". The complaint also requests the award of damages, enhanced damages for willful infringement, attorneys fees, and costs.

Intertainer distances itself from potential allegations that it is a patent troll, or that it has not practiced the technology that it now seeks to protect from infringement. It states in its web site that it "was the pioneer video on demand (VOD) company for both television cable and Internet markets."

It states that "At the height of its operations, Intertainer was available to the nation's top 35 broadband markets and was distributed to digital cable television customers in select Comcast Cable and Adelphia Communications markets. The Company also featured content from its unprecedented partner relationships with Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., DreamWorks SKG, MGM, A&E Networks, NBC, Discovery, ESPN, Warner Music, EMI Music and many others. Its shareholders include Thomson, Comcast, Intel, Microsoft, NBC, Qwest and Sony."

However, it ceased providing VOD service in 2002. It also states in its web site that "In September 2002, Intertainer filed an antitrust suit against AOL TimeWarner, Vivendi Universal and Sony, as well as their wholly owned service, Movielink, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, accusing them of conspiracy to fix prices in the digital distribution of entertainment and restraint of trade."

Intertainer adds that "In March 2006, the defendants -- Sony, Time Warner, NBC Universal and Movielink -- reached an out of court settlement with Intertainer that resolved the antitrust lawsuit to the satisfaction of all parties."

Intertainer is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Santa Monica, California. Apple is a California corporation based in Cupertino, California. Google is a Delaware corporation based in Mountain View, California. Napster is a Delaware corporation based in Los Angeles, California. There is no significant connection betweeen this action and the Eastern District of Texas (EDT), where the complaint was filed. The EDT is a forum of choice for many plaintiffs in patent infringement actions.

Congressional statute has designated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as a specialized court for appeals from patent actions. There is no specialization at the District Court level. However, the EDT currently operates as a de facto specialized trial court.

Intertainer is represented by Sam Baxter, Ted Stevenson, other attorneys at the law firm of McKool Smith, and attorneys at the law firm of Monts Ware.

This case in Intertainer, Inc. v. Apple Computer, Inc., Google, Inc., and Napster, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, D.C. No. 2-06CV-549.

More News

12/29. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau (MB) published a web site section that contains previously unreleased FCC documents pertaining to its various proceedings regarding FCC regulation of the ownership of media entities. The home page for this web section contains hyperlinks to 42 previously published and 47 previously unpublished documents. The newly released materials include FCC staff papers, draft papers, and presentation slides. It also includes e-mail messages and letters that are neither written by, or for, the FCC. It also includes copies of news reports.

12/29. The Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service released report [655 pages in PDF] titled "Monitoring Report on Universal Service". See also, FCC release [3 pages in PDF].

1/3. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) published on December 29, 2006, a report on consumer complaints and inquiries submitted during the third quarter of 2006. The FCC removed this report from its web site on January 3, 2007. This report states that the FCC received a total of 266,458 complaints in July, August and September. 193,504, or 72.6%, complained regarding obscenity or indecency in radio or television broadcasts. 55,010 complaints, or 20.6%, related to "universal service". The remainder of all other complaints totaled 17,908, or 6.7%. The FCC's second quarter report, which the FCC has not depublished, states that complaints totaled 73,554. The third quarter report provides no data on new issues, or issues not assigned a category. For example, there is no pretexting related category for complaints. A FCC spokesman declined to answer questions from TLJ regarding the data in the third quarter report, or about the number of complaints and inquiries pertaining non-categorized issues. Stephen Ebner (Chief of the CGB's Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division) did not return calls from TLJ.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, January 3

The House and Senate will next meet at 12:00 NOON on Thursday, January 4, 2007. See, HConRes 503.

12:30 PM. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the incoming Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, will give a speech. Prices vary. Location: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

1:00 - 3:00 PM. The Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a roundtable the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regarding the proposed Treaty on the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting Organizations. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 12, 2006, Vol., No. 238, at Pages 74565-74566. Location: Atrium Conference Room, USPTO, 600 Dulany Street, Madison West, 10th floor, Alexandria, VA.

1:00 PM. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will make an announcement regarding "nationwide interoperability". Michael Chertoff will speak. Location: Unified Communications Center, 2720 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE.

Thursday, January 4

The House and Senate will meet at 12:00 NOON on Thursday, January 4, 2007, to begin the 110th Congress. See, HConRes 503. Members will take the oath of office. The House may consider HRes __, the House Rules Package for the 110th Congress.

9:30 - 10:30 AM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a news conference to "brief reporters on the organization's 2007 policy objectives and priorities" and release a report titled "The State of American Business 2007". Thomas Donohue, head of the US Chamber, and Bruce Josten, head of government affairs, will speak. Breakfast will be served. Location: US Chamber, 1615 H Street, NW.

Friday, January 5

The House will meet at 9:00 AM.

EXTENDED TO JANUARY 31. Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assist the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) in drafting a report on the ability of persons with hearing disabilities to access digital wireless telecommunications. This proceeding is WT Docket No. 06-203. See, original FCC Public Notice [4 pages in PDF] (DA 06-2285) and Public Notice (DA 06-2498) extending deadlines.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its collection of data regarding Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) systems in the 800 MHz band. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 6, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 234, at Page 70765.

Monday, January 8

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding competitive bidding procedures for Auction No. 72, the Phase II 220 MHz spectrum licenses auction scheduled to commence on June 20, 2007. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 20, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 244, at Pages 76332-76336.

Tuesday, January 9

9:00 AM. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 22, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 246, at Page 77019-77020. The PCAST web site states that this meeting will take place on January 9-10. Location: Congressional Ballroom, Renaissance Hotel, 999 9th St., NW.

10:00 AM. The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Sinochem International v. Malaysia International Shipping, a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) in a case involving personal jurisdiction and the doctrine of forum non conveniens. See, SCUS calendar.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "New rules for AM and FM allotments and channel assignments". The speakers will include Tom Nessinger and Jim Bradshaw of the FCC's Audio Division. For more information, contact David OConnor at david.oconnor at hklaw dot com or 202-828-1889. Location: Holland & Knight, Lower Level, 2099 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

12:30 PM. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will give a speech. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a book forum for John Taylor, author of Global Financial Warriors: The Untold Story of International Finance in the Post 9-11 World [Amazon]. The speakers will be Taylor (former Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs), John Lipsky (International Monetary Fund), Faryar Shirzad (Goldman Sachs), and Steven Davis (AEI). See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

Wednesday, January 10

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Science Board Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will meet on site and by teleconference. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 29, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 250, at Page 78468. Location: NSF, Room 545, Stafford II Building, 4121 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Patent Law for Non-Patent Lawyers". The speakers will include Anthony Son (Foley & Lardner) and Elizabeth Brenner (Rothwell Figg Ernst & Manbeck). The price to attend ranges from $80 to $135. For more information, call 202-626-3488. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1250 H St NW B-1 Level.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to commence Auction No. 68 (FM broadcast auction). See, October 6, 2006, FCC Public Notice [60 pages in PDF] (DA 06-1949).

People and Appointments

1/3. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Administrative Law Judge Lillian McEwen retired from the SEC, effective January 3, 2007. See, SEC release.

1/3. Brewster Kahle and Warrington Hudlin were named to the Board of Directors of the Public Knowledge. Kahle founded the Internet Archive. He is also the plaintiff in Kahle v. Gonzales, a First Amendment challenge to the Copyright Term Extension Act, which is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir). Hudlin, who has produced and directed movies, is now President of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.

1/3. Joe Pouliot, who was previously head of media relations for the House Science Committee, is now a VP at The CJR Group. His new e-mail address is jpouliot at cjrgroup dot net.

1/3. David Goldston, who was previously Chief of Staff for the House Science Committee, will teach a course on public policy at Princeton University, and write for Nature. His new e-mail address is dgoldsto at princeton dot edu.

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