SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has just had to cough up $16m because a chap has some claim on Bluetooth after some paper changed hands and that is how these things work.
The lone chap, who is under the umbrella of his employer, the veteran IP holder Rembrandt IP Management, stands to take a 2.5 percent of the haul after a court found that this was fair.
Gordon Bremer, a man who had not even seen the Bluetooth specifications in 2007, owns two patents of his own, according to a report on ArsTechnica.
Patents 8,023,580 and 8,457,228 relate to modems and date from 1997, some three years after Bluetooth appeared at Ericsson.
Rembrandt IP, which is keen on defending rights in this area, argued that Samsung's products that use Bluetooth 2.0 and over infringe on Bremer's rights, and demanded reparation. The firm has won $15.7m and an ongoing licensing percentage.
Bremer told local newspaper The Marshall News Messenger that Rembrandt IP had done him a favour, explaining that the company, for which he works as a consultant, made the successful result possible.
"Even though I'm not the owner of the patents, I invented these patents. I'm very proud of the patents," he said, adding that Rembrandt IP is the dream maker, or enforcer. "I never could do that," he said.
This is the Rembrandt IP way. The firm's website makes that very clear and explains its purpose succinctly.
"Rembrandt IP Management's mission is to provide the necessary resources, including professional expertise and financial capital, to maximise the value of infringed intellectual property," it said.
"We work with owners of strong patents that have great market value, and we enforce these patents against major companies that may infringe upon them."
We have asked Samsung for its reaction to the decision and are waiting for a response.
Rembrandt IP expressed its pleasure at the result in a statement released to PR Newswire. "Justice was done here. The Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities," it said.
The case was heard at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas by district judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Samsung, of course, holds its own patents, and added 4,952 to its roster in 2014. This puts it second behind IBM in the intellectual property holding stakes, according to figures from US patent clearing house IFI.
Security firm Symantec came out the loser in January in a case concerning antivirus patents, and was told to pay $17m to Intellectual Ventures, a company not unlike Rembrandt IP, for infringing on two patents.
This decision, handed down in Delaware, was softer than Intellectual Ventures wanted, as it was pursuing almost $300m. Symantec is said to be considering the verdict.
We imagine that a lot of people are considering both the above verdicts, and what they mean for an already controversial software patents environment. µ
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