Helferich Patent Licensing LLC must rue the day it sued the New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT).
A federal judge in Chicago tossed out suits Wednesday alleging against the Times Co., CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), Bravo Media LLC and G4 Media, Inc., infringed patents on systems used to send hyperlinks with breaking news and product alerts to customers through text messages, according to court documents obtained by International Business Times.
The so-called patent troll -- a shell company that doesn’t produce anything but makes money suing firms -- has sued dozens of companies since 2008 and sent notice letters to at least 121 others, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), which paid $750,000 per content license.
The Times Co. led the charge last August when it banded together the five defendants -- each of which was fighting a separate suit -- to share resources and strategies to defeat Helferich.
But U.S. Judge John W. Darrah rejected Helferich’s claim, ruling that the patents -- already licensed to the mobile phone companies that produce handsets -- were exhausted.
“The doctrine of patent exhaustion is designed to avoid double recovery by a patentee, promote the orderly administration of patent rights, provide an efficient method for determining the termination of a patent monopoly, and promote fair competition,” Darrah said in his memorandum opinion. “To permit Helferich to recover multiple times on the same patent by selling licenses to the patents piece by piece (or claim by claim) is contradictory to these policies.”
The technology in question is a key part of many marketing campaigns. The Times uses it to send breaking news alerts to readers. CBS texts viewers about exclusive photos and videos posted on its website from its television shows. Bravo notifies viewers of live online chats and polls about its programs. J.C. Penney pings shoppers about giveaways and sweepstakes.
Spokespeople for the companies did not immediately respond to emails Wednesday night from IBTimes requesting comment.