Ever Made a Wi-Fi Device? You Probably Just Got Sued.
Ever heard of Mosaid Technology? Neither have I, but it’s a Canadian chip designer that’s been around since 1975. And if you’re among the 17 companies it sued today, you probably wish you’d never heard of it.
That’s right, 17 companies all at once, and all over six patents related to Wi-Fi that it says are being infringed. The defendants include household names like Dell, Research In Motion, Intel, Canon and Asus, as well as some lesser known names in tech like Atheros–the wireless chipmaker that’s being acquired by Qualcomm–Marvell Semiconductor and the Chinese networking concern Huawei.
The suit was filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas, which is notable because this district has developed something of a reputation of being friendly to so-called patent trolls, companies who make their living not by making products, but by suing established companies with the resources to either pay damages or cash settlements after arguably infringing on some patents they happen to have. When a few cases filed in this court went in favor of the plaintiff some years ago, numerous others followed. It also gained the nickname of “rocket docket,” meaning patent cases tended to be wrapped up inside of one to two years, much faster than in other courts.
Mosaid says it has licensed the six patents in question to 15 other companies, some of which you’ve heard of. They include Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Nokia.
And if you’re not on either list–sued today or working with a license–and sell a Wi-Fi enabled product, you can probably bet that Mosaid is coming for you sooner or later. As Mosaid CEO John Lindgren put it in a company statement: “We believe that all companies offering products that implement the Wi-Fi standard require a license to our wireless patents.” Sounds like Mosaid’s lawyers are going to be busy.