This came up over dinner a few weeks ago, and I thought it deserved a few minutes of our time.
US Ethernet Innovations was founded in East Texas. They purchased a portfolio of 35 Ethernet Patents coincidentally called the “Ethernet Patent Portfolio” from 3com. Their goal? File and pursue patent infringement on technology that is part of every computer made. The question brought up at dinner was, do the companies or people who bought said equipment get covered by the company that they purchased the equipment from?
What would the potential damage be to say, USAA a major insurance company with probably thousands of computers each with at least on ethernet port, as well as server racks with probably thousands, are they culpable for using unlicensed goods?
As reported by Network World in October, U.S. Ethernet Innovations launched patent-infringement suits against Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Sony, and Toshiba.
For “profiting” off of the NIC ethernet port technology.
3Com was awarded a $70mil. verdict against Realtek, before selling the patent portfolio to USEI, who’s only purpose is to pursue and continue 3coms after the fact licensing.
That said, many companies are scrambling in advance to get licenses in advance, and try to avoid litigation altogether.
Should be a very interesting story to follow, and see who settles and who opts for trial.