Microsoft Sues Acacia Over Mobile Deals

Rhett Pardon

NEW YORK — Microsoft sued Acacia Research Corp. today, claiming the patent company broke a contract "to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies to Microsoft," according to Reuters.

Reuters said the suit was filed at U.S. District Court in New York, but that the suit is currently under seal.

Microsoft’s suit comes in response to recent suits Acacia subsidiaries filed against Microsoft that allege infringement of more than a dozen patents despite the fact that Microsoft paid Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based web browser firm Access Co.

One of the lawsuits against Microsoft was filed in October by Intercarrier Communications, apparently an Acacia subsidiary, Reuters said.  Innovative Display Technologies, another apparent Acacia subsidiary, sued Microsoft alleging infringement of patents covering "light emitting panel assemblies."

Acacia in October 2010 licensed 74 smartphone patents to Microsoft, including technology developed by Palm, Reuters said.

Microsoft defeated an Acacia subsidiary in one patent suit in late 2007 after a jury declared a patent on speeding up PC boot time invalid.

In 2010, a federal appeals court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that all of Acacia’s patent claims against scores of online adult entertainment companies over rights to send compressed audio and video signals over a network were invalid.

Although Acacia was able to secure settlements from a number of adult companies, other companies fought back against the patent "troll," and eventually coalesced into the united Adult Defense Group effort, spearheaded by Homegrown Video parent company New Destiny Internet Group.

Previous XBIZ reports on Acacia can be found here.