CNET - "Apple, RIM, others sued over smartphone patent"

After a company called H-W Technology filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, RIM, Google and 29 other big tech companies in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, interviewed GPC's Alexander Poltorak for an expert's take on the case ("Apple, RIM, others sued over smartphone patent," April 1, 2011).

Excerpt from article:

According to Alexander Poltorak, CEO and chairman of IP services firm the General Patent Corporation, the case that follows this suit will be "a procedural nightmare for the plaintiff."

"Many companies, I presume, will make a motion to transfer the case on their home jurisdiction. The motion practice will get very expensive very quickly," Poltorak said in an e-mail to CNET. "Later, the plaintiff will have to serve each of these defendants with specific infringement contentions for each of the accused products. That is a lot of work give the number of defendants."

And the buck won't stop there. "The discovery is going to be extraordinarily expensive," Poltorak said. "In such multi-defendant litigation, defendants often enter into a joint defense agreement and present a unified front. The plaintiff in this case may have grabbed a tiger by the tail."

Even so, Poltorak said that the claim itself is not too broad. What could end up being the big point of interest in all this is where the court comes down on the wording of the patent for what it actually means.

"Of particular interest will be construction of the term 'Internet Protocol Phone' or 'IP Phone,'" said Poltorak. "Typically these terms signify phones that use VoIP rather than a switch network. Cell phones are not usually classified as IP phones."

And by drafting the patent and getting it approved, Poltorak said that the patentee is able to give their own meaning to whatever words are used in the process.

"The patent specifications included in this term any 'Internet Appliance.' It will be interesting to see if the court will construe the term IP Phone to include a cell phone, which is not the ordinary meaning of the term," Poltorak said.

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