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JPEG Patent Claim Surrendered!
Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 03:55 PM EST

Here you go, straight from the Public Patent Foundation's press release: Forgent Networks has stopped asserting its patent against JPEG, has dropped all its pending cases that were asserting the patent, and says that it won't file any other infringement claims based on the patent. You'll recall that PubPat challenged the patent last year and the USPTO reexamination led to rejection of the broadest claims.

On its website page on the Forgent Networks JPEG Related Patent, PubPat provides the history:

PUBPAT filed a formal request with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in November 2005 to revoke the patent Forgent Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FORG) is widely asserting against the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) international standard for the electronic sharing of photo-quality images. In its filing, PUBPAT submitted previously unseen prior art showing that the patent, which was issued in 1987 to Forgent's subsidiary Compression Labs Inc., was not new and, as such, should be revoked. The PTO granted PUBPAT's request in February 2006 and rejected the broadest claims of the patent in May 2006. In November 2006, Forgent abandoned all assertion of the patent.

You can get the legal filing and the USPTO orders from that page. Hey, sometimes there's good news. Not all the news stories can be about somebody's corporate strategy to steal Red Hat's customers.

Here's the meat from the press release:


Forgent Networks Ends Assertion of Patent Challenged by PUBPAT

NEW YORK -- November 2, 2006 -- The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") announced today that Forgent Networks (Nasdaq: FORG) has stopped asserting its patent against the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) international standard for the electronic sharing of photo-quality images. PUBPAT successfully initiated a challenge to the patent last year and this week Forgent dropped all of its pending cases asserting the patent and stated that it would not file any other infringement claims based on the patent.

Forgent Networks acquired the '672 Patent through the purchase of Compression Labs, Inc. in 1997 and began aggressively asserting it against the JPEG standard through lawsuits and the media in 2004. PUBPAT filed its challenge to the patent in November 2005 and the Patent Office rejected the patent's broadest claims in May of this year.

"By completely ending its assertion of the '672 patent, Forgent has now finally admitted that the patent has no valid claim over the JPEG standard," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "This utter capitulation by Forgent is long overdue, but a cause for public relief nonetheless."

More information about the Forgent Networks patent formerly asserted against the JPEG standard, including a copy of the Patent Office's Office Action rejecting its broadest claims, can be found at


JPEG Patent Claim Surrendered! | 46 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Final group of defendants settled for $8 Million
Authored by: stats_for_all on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 04:19 PM EST
The final group of JPEG defendants settled for $8Million this quarter. FORG had a 43% contingency with it lawyers (Susman of Caldera v. MSFT, is the most recent lead).

FORG never recovered from a Markman Ruling (formal review of claims) that severely limited the claims.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT- Off Topic
Authored by: DBLR on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 04:31 PM EST
Ya all know the drill and how to make links click able.


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is
a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kevin McBride and Morgan Keegan join Patent Troll lawsuit
Authored by: stats_for_all on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 04:34 PM EST
information reposted, but relevant to article lead.

Kevin McBride and investment bank Morgan Keegan joined a South Carolina company Affinity Technologies in a patent troll lawsuit against mortgage banks and other lenders for a "loan approval" software patent.

In a July 11, 2006 announcement, Morgan Keegan's Kim Jenkins agreed to find $5Million dollars for Affinity (AFFI.ob). The same announcement added the services of Kevin McBride to the lawsuit in exchange for a 6% contingency share.

Kimble Jenkins was the lead for Morgan Keegan in its arrangements with SCOX. Keegan first contracted with SCOX in August 2002 at the same time as the John Wall deal. Keegan revised its engagement letter in February 2003, to include software license sales. Keegan received a commission on the Baystar Pipe.

Keegan has since (Sept 2006) sold $1.9 million is AFFI stock to unnamed parties.

Sources: a5232234 .txt a5187856 .txt

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: Trollsfire on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 04:50 PM EST

If you find any corrections needed in the article, please post them here so that they can be made.


[ Reply to This | # ]

So... how much did this little endeavour net?
Authored by: chiark on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 05:29 PM EST
For years Forgent has been holding companies to ransomasserting its intellectual property because that "it has a patent that covers the JPEG standard".

Pubpat has successfully challenged the "broadest claims" of the patent, and now Forgent has stopped asserting its claims.

How much money did this endeavour make, and how do the licensees feel now that the majority of the reasons that they stumped up for a license have been challenged and found to be subject to prior art?

I realise the license will probably be exquisitely crafted to say, "if we're selling something that it turns out isn't what we say it is, you can't sue us", but that strikes me as a downright unfair contract clause and may well be subject to a legal challenge as such in UK courts of law.

Does the USA have a similar unfair contract or unenforceable clause legislation? Because, if it does, is it time to light the blue touch paper and stand well back?

I really am not in any way a lawyer, and not even American - you can tell, can't you? All the same, I do wonder how selling dubious licenses can be legal...

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to tell a company is about to die
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 06:59 PM EST

Whenever a company claims that it is going to monetize it's assets, look out.
This is an admission by management that the company is failing, and that barring
a miracle, the company is dead.

If you own stock in such a company - sell it - fast. If you are looking for a
place to invest, don't.

This is not to say that there aren't good solid companies selling their
expertise - IBM, Microsoft, and Sun being good examples in the IT market. All of
them have large R&D staffs, engage in continuous research and development,
and work hard to make sure that their efforts pay off. They don't have to claim
that they are going to monetize their assets - they are already doing so.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Ravicher video
Authored by: erikschmidt on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 07:10 PM EST

There's an excellent video of Dan Ravicher speaking to an audience of practitioners, professors, and students about the need for patent reform. I was at the event, and Dan is a very effective and engaging speaker.

The video is at Tech LawForum. Full disclosure: I'm a second-year Santa Clara Law student and I'm one of the editors of TLF.

Unfortunately, we don't have an MPEG version of the video available yet. We should have one up in a week or two. In the mean time, if you have WMP, you'll be able to view the video and a synched transcript.

[ Reply to This | # ]

JPEG Patent Claim Surrendered!
Authored by: llanitedave on Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 11:25 PM EST
Wasn't that patent about to expire anyway -- it's been 19
years. What's the time limit on technology patents

Of course we need to communicate -- that goes without saying!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent expired Oct 27, 2006 anyway
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 12:44 AM EST
According to Forgent's press release they settled the remaining claims for $8 million, for a total of about $110 million of revenue since they started selling licenses in 2002 for the patent that they acquired in 1997. The patent expired Oct 27, 2006, 20 years after it was filed. So this is only a mild victory for PUBPAT. Forgent made their money, the patent has lived its life, and they have plans to keep going with other patents they have bought.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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