Hewlett-Packard’s steadfast resistance to patent-hoarder Intellectual Ventures is finally coming back to bite it in the kneecap.
The venerable old company has long railed against IV as “a very large patent troll” and refused to pay for a big license to its IP. This wasn’t a problem because IV was a sleeping giant for many years, never filing a lawsuit.
But things changed in 2009 as IV began selling off its patents to the kinds of hardcore patent trolls who’d be willing to sue: other people doing IV’s dirty work.
The first came when Ray “the original patent troll” Niro filed suit for Picture Frame Innovations against Kodak. Picture Frame is a shell company that exists only for the purpose of owning a patent, and it bought a patent on digital image frames from an IV shell company called Vivianna Research.
That same patent, number 7107605, is now being put to another use: as ammunition in a suit (.pdf) filed against HP last week. Picture Frame accuses HP’s Dream Screen and other products of infringing on the patent. This is apparently the price for not cutting a deal with IV before. Because you notice how the companies that paid IV, like Apple, are not getting sued at all?
— Zusha Elinson