May 30, 2013
Ars Technica reports that HP has filed a petition challenging one of the patents used against SMBs by 40 shell companies, which have been acting on behalf of MPHJ Technology Investments, a “mysterious patent-holding company”, to demand $1,000 (€773) for each worker they claim have infringed patents involving the use of scanners.
The patent challenged by HP, No. 6,771,381, describes a “virtual copier” that “involves paper being scanned from a device at one location and copied to a device at another location”; an action which a number of HP scan-enabled printers allow, including models manufactured in the 1990s before the patents were filed.
The OEM filed its petition a day after Ricoh and Xerox also filed an “inter partes review” against networking technology patents also claimed to belong to MPHJ Technology Investments; which a Xerox spokesperson said “claim[s] nothing more than a well-known concept for enabling a typical PC user to add electronic paper processing to their existing business process”. An inter partes review argues that a patent should not have been issued in the first place, and if accepted, “a determination must be made within one year”.
However, a lawyer acting on behalf of MPHJ, Brian Farney, insisted that the named inventor of the patents, Laurence Klein, was a pioneer of the technology: “No one had a system where you did these things – where a scanner, a LAN, a PC, and the application software [were linked] with automatic or one-button scan.”
Categories : Products and Technology