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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,054
17,429



094329-innova_logo.jpg


Apple and nearly three dozen other companies were slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit yesterday over technology used to differentiate between legitimate and spam email messages. The suit, being pursued by apparent patent troll InNova Patent Licensing, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, which is considered to one of the most friendly courts for those pursuing patent infringement cases.
The federal lawsuit focuses on a revolutionary InNova patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,018,761, that covers technology used to differentiate between spam email messages and those that users actually want to receive. The InNova patent was awarded to inventor and mathematician Robert Uomini nearly 15 years ago when Internet email was still in its formative stages. Mr. Uomini is the founder of InNova.

Patent-infringement attorney Christopher Banys, lead counsel for InNova, says the company's patent is one of the building blocks for all email communications. InNova's complaint alleges that the defendant companies have used InNova's invention without permission for years.

"Email as we know it would essentially stop working if it weren't for InNova's invention," says Mr. Banys, who leads The Lanier Law Firm's national intellectual property practice. "More than 80 percent of email is spam, which is why companies use InNova's invention rather than forcing employees to wade through billions of useless emails. Unfortunately, the defendants appear to be profiting from this invention without any consideration for InNova's legal patent rights."
Among the other tech companies included in the lawsuit are Google, Dell, HP, IBM, and Yahoo, as well as non-tech companies such as JC Penney, Dr. Pepper Snapple, and Bank of America.

It is unclear from the press release exactly how Apple and the other defendants are claimed to have infringed the patent. The patent, however, describes methods for storing "context information" associated with an email address, such as the person's real name and business affiliation, in a database. Recipients' email applications could then automatically access the database when a message arrives, providing identification information on the sender. The database would render it unnecessary for senders to specify certain email header fields such as adding a real name to the "From" field or adding a signature to each email message, while also serving as an aid to separate emails sent by known or otherwise legitimate senders from those sent by spammers.

Article Link: Apple, Google, and Others Hit With Patent Lawsuit Over Spam Email Identification
 

guitarman777

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2005
213
34
Orlando, FL
These patent lawsuits have gotten wayyyyyy out of hand. Naming non-tech companies like Snapple and JC Penney? Seriously?

"How dare you use our anti-spam technology for your pursuit of Better Stuff™!"

Give it a rest... sheesh!
 

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
Must be very difficult in these large companies to keep track of all the lawsuits against them, there seem to be several every week.
It comes with the territory. Apple is like many companies, they get sued all the time. A good corporate legal team is on staff and they are pretty good at sorting things out. Trust me though, the legal teams at Apple and other companies are used to these things happening. They have processes to sort things out.
 

madrag

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
366
74
And it's taken them this long to notice it...:confused:

I agree!

That's what's strange, because I understand a patent is a way to keep your ideia *yours*, but why have they taken so long to sue? or maybe this finally hit the courts after years of negotiation?
 

JeffDM

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2006
709
9
was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, which is considered to one of the most friendly courts for those pursuing patent infringement cases.

Filing at this court is a red flag for patent troll activity.
 

Avicdar

macrumors regular
Oct 11, 2004
188
0
Toronto
Limitations?

There should be some kind of limitation regarding the ability to sue over this stuff.

For example, if a company infringes on a patent, the holder of the patent should take action immediately. Not allow years to pass and multiple companies to pick up on the technology (and become infringers).

It's like the patent holder is encouraging others to (mostly likely unknowingly) infringe on their patent because other companies are doing so without consequence. So the patent holder allows this to go on for years, so that the damages will be huge once a single verdict is rendered. (You'll get more money out of 30 infringers than one).

The plaintiff is admitting that the infringers have been doing so for 'years'. Really? So why are you only suing NOW?
 

madrag

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
366
74
These patent lawsuits have gotten wayyyyyy out of hand. Naming non-tech companies like Snapple and JC Penney? Seriously?

"How dare you use our anti-spam technology for your pursuit of Better Stuff™!"

Give it a rest... sheesh!

a patent is a patent, and if these aren't protected, then its anarchy...
It doesn't really matter much if it was tech or non-tech companies that (may) have infringed the patent.

I know it helps the progress, or as you said "pursuit of Better Stuff™", but put yourself in the shoes of the patent holders, they had the idea/developed it, and now are behing stolen. Of course it has to be proven first.
 

SAN66

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2006
32
0
North America should take a queue from the UK, NZ and others to soon follow suit and simply dissolve the practice of software patents.
 

knightlie

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2008
546
0
How many email clients have Dr Pepper developed? :confused:

And this guy was fighting spam 15 years ago, before spam was ever a real problem?
 

guitarman777

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2005
213
34
Orlando, FL
a patent is a patent, and if these aren't protected, then its anarchy...
It doesn't really matter much if it was tech or non-tech companies that (may) have infringed the patent.

I know it helps the progress, or as you said "pursuit of Better Stuff™", but put yourself in the shoes of the patent holders, they had the idea/developed it, and now are behing stolen. Of course it has to be proven first.

Very very true, but as was previously mentioned, other companies have been using the technology for years. Why didn't InNova step up years ago and protect what was and is supposedly their intellectual & technological property? Like you said, it definitely all comes down to proof. I'm still not sure how I feel about it at first blush. Seems like a frivolous and media-frenzy-hungry attempt at grabbing a piece of the pie.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,293
3,677
Tennessee
How many email clients have Dr Pepper developed? :confused:

And this guy was fighting spam 15 years ago, before spam was ever a real problem?

Believe me, it was a problem 15 years ago. I was getting spam years before that. My first big "hit" as a developer was a simple Eudora spam filter I wrote in 1994.
 

TheRealTVGuy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
688
1,123
Orlando, FL
Madrag, I think the first reference to "Better Stuff" was a play off of Snapple's marketing. Not a reference to technological progress...
 

NetScheduler

macrumors regular
Sep 7, 2008
185
0
Southwest PA
a patent is a patent, and if these aren't protected, then its anarchy...
It doesn't really matter much if it was tech or non-tech companies that (may) have infringed the patent.

I know it helps the progress, or as you said "pursuit of Better Stuff™", but put yourself in the shoes of the patent holders, they had the idea/developed it, and now are behing stolen. Of course it has to be proven first.

But this is Mac rumors!!! Here, anyone who dares to protect their patent is a "Patent Troll".. Well, except Apple, they should be able to sue (and run out of business) anyone who infringes on their intellectual property.

I don't know how the legal world survives without the advice of all these legal geniuses at MR...
 
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