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Apple, Intel among those facing renewed suit over PCI Express

post #1 of 19
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Having proven that its technology is patentable, Microlinc LLC has filed suit against ten large computing firms claiming patent infringement through use of the PCI Express bus.

Filed this week in the lawsuit-friendly Marshall Division of the Eastern district of Texas, the 18-page complaint follows a two-year delay where Delaware-based Microlinc successfully proved that a 1999 patent for computers with packet-based interconnects was valid before filing a new version of a previous lawsuit, which it had originally submitted to the court in November 2005.

Intel's PCI Express technology, which is used to connect video cards and other peripherals inside most modern computers, is said to infringe on that patent through the way it transmits information to the rest of a system. By extension, any company manufacturing parts that include PCI Express connections are also responsible for infringing on the patent, Microlinc claims.

As a result, Intel is named alongside nine other companies that the plaintiff believes are contributing to the perceived infringement. Intel's rival AMD is included for using PCI Express for its mainboards, as is NVIDIA. Large computer makers Apple, Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba are all accused of aiding Intel by building desktops and notebooks that use the offending technology.

Represented by the law firm Brown McCarroll, Microlinc hopes to land permanent injunctions blocking all of the defending firms from producing or selling products that infringe on the patent. It also hopes to collect unspecified damages from each of the ten companies.

Apple has maintained its traditional silence regarding lawsuits, choosing to avoid comment on the matter.
post #2 of 19
Sooo...a permanent injunction...and you want your product to get into the hands of the consumer. How hard is it to arrange a licensing deal?
post #3 of 19
How about a law that prohibits frivolous lawsuits coming out of that dust spec in Texas?
post #4 of 19
While they were at it, why didn't they just patent "water."
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post #5 of 19
Quote:
Microlinc hopes to land permanent injunctions blocking all of the defending firms from producing or selling products that infringe on the patent.

Surely this is never going to happen. They'll just end up settling out of court for a ridiculous sum of money.
post #6 of 19
Apple seems to be getting sued left, right and center the past couple of years. Have they sued anybody that has infringed upon their patents or product designs (other than Microsoft)? Why don't we hear about those lawsuits? Maybe they know that eventually, these infringers will die off, so they just let them be.
post #7 of 19
A permanent injunction is nothing more than a way to force companies to license the technology.
post #8 of 19
You wouldn't think it was so frivolous if you were the one that invented it and other companies decided to use it without paying you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo View Post

How about a law that prohibits frivolous lawsuits coming out of that dust spec in Texas?
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

You wouldn't think it was so frivolous if you were the one that invented it and other companies decided to use it without paying you.

And just how long has PCI Express been around? Five years? Trying to get royalties after the fact for something common within an entire industry for years is just absurd.

More info on the case: Court filing
post #10 of 19
It's time to give the Marshall Division of the Eastern district of Texas back to Mexico.
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post #11 of 19
They shouldn't have got that patent. People have been sending data between computers in packets for years. How big of a step is it to say, "Oh, why not do the same inside the computer?" It's not a big enough mental step to justify a patent.
post #12 of 19
I'm imagining some guy in an office in one of these companies whose sole job is to browse the web looking for successful companies. He finds one and then goes "hmm, didn't we come up with that back in '88?"

It's one thing to be upset about someone stealing your ideas. It's another thing to get rich off of other less lazy people executing those ideas.

Should we really be using our patent system as a way to make money on other people's success?
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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

Apple seems to be getting sued left, right and center the past couple of years. Have they sued anybody that has infringed upon their patents or product designs (other than Microsoft)? Why don't we hear about those lawsuits? Maybe they know that eventually, these infringers will die off, so they just let them be.

Probably no more than any other large corporation, we just see more press about it because this is an Apple Centric site. Even smaller businesses deal with this sort of thing on a regular basis.
post #14 of 19
Ummm... considering that it can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to get a patent, these might be the guys who came up with the idea in the first place, which makes intel and amd genuine infringer's. On the other hand, I would be surprised if buying technology from an infringer is illegal - it seems to me that it would take an incredible amount of resources and raise the cost of technology to require companies check all potentially applicable patents on items that they buy from reputable suppliers.

but seriously, why is this division in Texas not under investigation itself -- makes me think of those rural towns where the sheriff arrests anyone they feel like because the judge is his half brother.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

Ummm... considering that it can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to get a patent, these might be the guys who came up with the idea in the first place, which makes intel and amd genuine infringer's. On the other hand, I would be surprised if buying technology from an infringer is illegal - it seems to me that it would take an incredible amount of resources and raise the cost of technology to require companies check all potentially applicable patents on items that they buy from reputable suppliers.

but seriously, why is this division in Texas not under investigation itself -- makes me think of those rural towns where the sheriff arrests anyone they feel like because the judge is his half brother.

Not sure about any of you folks, but I know, if my company was getting sued as much as Apple, I would be bald, crazy and very angry.

It takes a special person to go on each day with all of this shit going on around me / him / her.

I know they have a VERY LARGE legal department dealing with this stuff, but come on

It's getting to be like car accident lawsuits.

- The person who was driving
- the car company that made the car that the person was driving
- the driving school AND instructor, because they didn't do a good jop teaching the person how to drive
- The person who taught the teacher, for not teaching him / her well enough, that they could have taught the student better
- The city or town that the street / highway is in, because they didn't keep the road clear enough or well enough lite, so the accident wouldn't have happened
- The parents of the driver, if he or she is underage
- The insurance company and they're agents
- Anyone else in the car, for not doing a better jop of preventing the accident
- and heaven help us, if the tires were bald, and they didn't have some kind of monitoring system that should have told the driver the tires were bad, and the car shouldn't be driven.
- And let's not forget - IF there was a traffic light, that wasn't very bright - now here's a bunch more folks to add to the lawsuit

Folks "Get a FU&^*KING jop and support yourself!

Now - yes, if these folks did in fact have a patent, then someone is at faught and needs to pay but who, and where does it stop!

Skip

PS Listening to Jimmy Hendrix gets me pumped up
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

, if my company was getting sued as much as Apple, I would be bald, crazy and very angry.

Sounds like you would be a little like this guy.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuncyWeb View Post

I'm imagining some guy in an office in one of these companies whose sole job is to browse the web looking for successful companies. He finds one and then goes "hmm, didn't we come up with that back in '88?"

It's one thing to be upset about someone stealing your ideas. It's another thing to get rich off of other less lazy people executing those ideas.

Should we really be using our patent system as a way to make money on other people's success?

I agree 100%. What is up with these companies that invent something and then NEVER produce it themselves? What kind of education is required to be the guy/woman who approves patents? Wouldn't you need a basic understanding of the matter?

I can't believe that this technology even won a patent in the first place. It sounds so similar to other technologies that have been in use for years. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to call PATENT TROLL! on this one.
post #18 of 19
I fully agree as well, inventing something isn't the same as executing and producing fully functional products. PCI Express Bus by itself doesn't do a damn thing and certain don't sell computers! Our courts must be blind if they get tie up in laws of written words rather than logic and common sense.
post #19 of 19
Is it just me or does it seem like the tech community is the latest 'Lawyer Welfare Program' now that the health industry is pretty much bled dry?
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