WiLAN scores partial win in court, continues expansion into automotive patents

OBJ Staff
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A federal judge in the United States has ruled that two patent claims made by Ottawa-based Wi-LAN (TSX: WIN) in a lawsuit against Apple were improperly invalidated by a jury in October.

WiLAN CEO Jim Skippen. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

The ruling could help lead the way to an appeal of the case, which saw a Texas jury find in favour of Apple’s claim that it didn’t violate a WiLAN patent. The patent, known as the 802 patent, based on its U.S. patent number, relates to wireless communication technology.

"We believed all along that the claims in our 802 patent were valid, and this decision just reaffirms that belief,” said Jim Skippen, WiLAN’s president and CEO, in a press release issued last week.

“We also believe that the judge's ruling will be of significant benefit to WiLAN with respect to any future appeals we may make to the U.S. federal courts concerning our ongoing intellectual property disputes with Apple."

The decision from the jury last October sent shockwaves through WiLAN, pushing down its share price and eventually forcing it to look at selling the company.

WiLAN announced the ruling one day before WiLAN announced that one of its subsidiaries had acquired a patent portfolio that the company says “relates to automotive diagnostic technology.”

Few other details were released about the transaction.

"This acquisition, our second in the automotive market, strengthens our footprint in this market," said Mr. Skippen in a press release issued on Thursday.

"The portfolio is an example of the broad range of technologies that are coming to WiLAN from many patent owners who are actively seeking WiLAN's assistance in monetizing their inventions through licensing partnerships or outright acquisition by WiLAN."

The company also provided a few additional details about a patent licensing agreement with a “wireless carrier in the United States” it announced early this month.

According to the company, the patents are related to wireless security and are part of a portfolio it acquired from Siemens AG in July 2012.

WiLAN’s share rose on Wednesday, with the announcement of the Texas ruling, from an opening price of $3.20 to a peak of $3.42 shortly before noon. By late Friday afternoon, shares in the company were trading at $3.25, a three-cent decline from the day’s opening.

Organizations: Apple, Siemens AG

Geographic location: United States, Texas

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