CEO says all companies using Wi-Fi standard require licence to MOSAID's patents
MOSAID Technologies Inc.(TSX:MSD) has launched a patent litigation suit against 17 electronics makers – including well-known names such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Corp., Canon U.S.A. Inc., and Intel Corp. – with the Ottawa-based firm accusing the companies of infringing on its Wi-Fi patents.
© Darren Brown
John Lindgren, CEO of MOSAID Technologies. (File photo)
"We believe that all companies offering products that implement the Wi-Fi standard require a licence to our wireless patents," said MOSAID chief executive John Lindgren in a statement.
When reached by OBJ, a MOSAID representative said litigation is considered part of the business model at the Ottawa patent licencing firm, and the company allocates a certain amount of money every year to lawsuits and lets the investors know about the budget ahead of time. For this fiscal year, which ends April 30, it was around $5 million to $10 million.
"We have been in discussions with a number of the companies that are named in the suit, and we decided that rather than continuing negotiations – which were basically not proceeding according to a good timeline – that because of that we decided to initiate the suit," said Michael Salter, the senior director of investor relations.
At issue are any products that the defendants have made or are making that comply with or implement the IEEE 802.11 family of communications standards, known as Wi-Fi. MOSAID is asserting six of its U.S. patents, numbered 5,131,006; 5,151,920; 5,422,887; 5,706,428; 6,563,786 B1; and 6,992,972.
The intellectual property involved in the case includes the technology to detect mobile carriers for a wireless local area network and the patent for the medium access protocol for wireless LAN, which allows for higher data throughput by reducing collision between different frames of information being broadcast and improving network access.
The companies MOSAID named in the suit are: ASUSTek Computer Inc.; Atheros Communications Inc.; Canon U.S.A. Inc.; CSR plc; Dell Inc.; Digi International Inc.; Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Intel Corp.; Lexmark International Inc.; Marvell Semiconductor Inc.; Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd.; Ralink Technology Corp.; Realtek Semiconductor; Research In Motion Corp.; Wasp Barcode Technologies Ltd.; Wistron Corp.; and Venture Research Inc.
Some of the companies involved had previously been hit with similar Wi-Fi patent lawsuits launched by another local company, Wi-LAN Inc. (TSX:WIN), including Dell, Marvell, RIM and Intel.
MOSAID noted it’s already licensed its portfolio of wireless patents and applications to 15 companies since 2008, which are worth "significantly more than" $100 million, Mr. Salter said. The company will not disclose how much the patents under dispute would be worth.
The suit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. district court for the eastern district of Texas. MOSAID expects it won't be resolved for at least two to three years.
The 36-year-old Ottawa company around 50 employees has more than 2,000 patents. In past months it has signed agreements with Nanya Technology, Sharp, Sony, LG Electronics and a few other firms.
In its last quarterly results, MOSAID revealed earnings of $7.4 million, up $2.2 million from last year.
– With files from Elizabeth Howell