'Ten most wanted' patent litigator gets busted

Acacia Research has been deemed a frivolous patent litigator for its repeated attempts to have its broad streaming media patents enforced in court. The holding company owns several patents on the process of transmitting compressed audio and video, a technique practically built into online multimedia; and it has been trying for the better part of the decade to license these patents out to a laundry list of multimedia companies, adult sites, and satellite and cable network operators.

Finally, after more than seven years in litigation, US District Court Judge James Ware invalidated the last of Acacia's claims, and called for a hearing on October 9 to close out the case and officially bust the patent. Acacia has been able to secure settlements and licensing agreements from hundreds of businesses, including a significant number of huge companies (Walt Disney, Playboy, T. Rowe Price, Bloomberg).

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Director Cindy Cohn said this week, "Invalidation by litigation is a different process for busting a patent than the reexamination procedure that EFF uses, but the end result is the same: The patent is ended and harassment of others using the patented technology must cease."

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The EFF had Acacia's streaming media patent on its "Ten Most Wanted List" of the worst offending patents, which it has tried to void through US Patent and Trademark Office re-examination. In the EFF's procedure, it attempts to convince USPTO that patents are invalid through significant prior art claims.

"This marks the seventh patent targeted by EFF that has either been busted, invalidated, narrowed or had a re-exam granted," Cohn continued.

The three remaining patents that the EFF has on its list which haven't been shaken yet are Acceris' patent for VoIP technology, Firepond/Polaris' patent for Natural Language Processing, and Nintendo's patent for handheld software emulation.

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