The intellectual property (IP) court that governs the copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws has taken a page out of the US government’s playbook.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the National Instruments Inc., a company based in Palo Alto, California.
EFF filed the lawsuit after the US Copyright Office (USCIS) said it was considering whether the company had violated US copyright law by “manufacturing or licensing” a computer chip known as the “Wacom tablet.”
“In other words, this is a lawsuit that has been filed by a technology company that is trying to protect its patent portfolio,” said EFF Staff Attorney Michael Beckerman.
“The technology companies are going after companies that they think have made their patents useless.
And they want to have a legal claim that they made their inventions useful.”
In the patent filing, National Instruments claims that it was infringing its IP when it made the Wacom chip.
In the filing, the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) says that it has no record of the “product” being made by the company.
But the Electronic Frontier says that the company is infringing on a patent that National Instruments filed in March.
“National Instruments has filed numerous patents that allege that the WACOM tablet is infringing its patents,” Beckerman said.
“But it’s also been filing numerous patent applications to try to invalidate those patents, including patent applications from the company that was involved in the development of the Wampom tablet, the Waccamos tablet.”
The patent filing was filed by Nintech, a company owned by Niantic Labs, which is a subsidiary of Nintendo.
The filing said the Waca is a “digital pen, pen-like device” and that it “features a stylus that has a touch screen on it that functions as a styluses stylus.”
Beckerman says that Niantics is trying a very similar tactic with the Wacs, and he says that National has been filing patents to try and invalidate them.
The court filing also said that Nintes patent for a “computer readable display system” is “patent pending.”
But Beckerman believes that Nintendics claims that its device is the “first digital pen.”
“The problem with Nintend’s claims is that the patent doesn’t cover stylus or touch screen technology, so the fact that they are patent pending is irrelevant,” Beckman said.
Beckerman pointed out that Nintentics has been sued before in court for patents related to its technology.
The company is also suing a company called Baidu, which makes an Android mobile operating system that uses Nintendis technology.
Beckman says that these are the kinds of patent lawsuits that the US has seen before.
“I think that these kinds of lawsuits are going to be used by other tech companies,” Beckmann said.
A spokesperson for Nintendys lawyer, Chris Brown, told Mashable that the suit is being handled by the Intellectual Property Office.
“We are confident that Nindy’s claims are invalidated and Nintend is pursuing all available remedies,” Brown said.
The EFF is seeking class action status on the complaint.
“These patent troll tactics are dangerous, and they have already harmed hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on their copyrights for their livelihoods and are paying the price,” said Beckerman in a statement.
The National Instruments lawsuit is one of several that the EFF is taking on.
In February, EFF filed a lawsuit against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking to invalidated a law that requires certain types of companies to pay for the damage caused by patent trolls.
In March, EFF sued a company named Dyson to invalidating an order that required Dyson’s technology to be sold to another company.
In April, EFF was also filing a lawsuit to invalidates an order of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which regulates the sale of wireless telephones.
The FTC also has jurisdiction over patent trolls, which are companies that seek to “bargain” with a competitor, but are not required to pay a royalty.
The lawsuit said that National had “violated a court order” by trying to “take a monopoly position” with the company’s patents.
National’s patent filing claims that NINET is “seeking to monopolize the wireless communications market by selling patents in this industry, and is using its monopoly position to promote its own products and services.”
“These threats are outrageous and will harm hundreds of millions of Americans and millions of businesses in the wireless industry,” Beckher said.
In addition to suing NINETS, the EFF also filed a complaint against a company known as Moo Mobile, which sells wireless telephony devices.
Moo claims that National is “imposing its monopoly on the wireless market” and is trying “to create a monopoly on mobile telephony by purchasing patents from competitors