Acacia, Defense Group Have Another Day in Court

Gretchen Gallen
SAN JOSE, Calif. – In the post-Markman hearing process of patent litigation between Acacia Technologies Group and the Joint Defense Group – representing more than a dozen adult industry defendants – a hearing took place yesterday in San Jose, Calif., and according to both sides, no landmark rulings occurred.

Judge James Ware heard oral arguments on two issues: Acacia's motion for a class-action lawsuit against the entire adult industry, and a motion filed by Acacia to dismiss tort claims filed by the Joint Defense Group, which include unfair competition and malicious prosecution.

A source close to XBiz said that Ware took both arguments under advisement and gave no specific date when he would issue a ruling.

The hearing took place over a three-hour period, and while Spike Goldberg of the Joint Defense Group was the only member of the defense team present, the room was attended by a crowd of legal representatives from technology companies interested in how the final outcome of the lawsuit could impact their own Internet and cable-based business models that rely on the use of streaming audio and video.

Robert Berman, executive vice president and legal counsel for Acacia, declined to comment on how the court proceeding went.

However, at one point, in hypothesizing about the advantages of bunching the adult industry into one defense class, the judge was quoted as referring to adult webmasters as "social misfits."

Goldberg told XBiz shortly after the hearing that the issues discussed were of "tantamount importance" to the online adult industry, and that he would be issuing a statement toward the end of the week detailing his notes and illustrating why he thinks Acacia has "sunk to a new low" in trying to defend its streaming Digital Media Transmission patents.

"Yesterday's hearing was just another step in the process," Goldberg told XBiz. "And in some regards, it's more time being wasted by Acacia to stave off the inevitable destruction of their patent."

Acacia filed a motion in April to establish a class-action lawsuit against the adult industry, which could conceivably include hundreds of companies in a single defense category.

Companies infringing on Acacia's patents are defined as those whose video content can be received in the U.S. District Court's Central District of California, which encompasses most of Southern California.

At the time of the filing, Acacia claimed that its interest in creating a defendant class was so that it did not have to relitigate certain issues over and over again.

Dates have been set for two additional post-Markman court hearings on Dec. 2 and 3, during which Ware will hear motions for summary judgment to invalidate two of Acacia's five U.S. patents.