Secure Axcess v. Dell Inc. et al.

On October 19, 2011, in News, Patents, by George F. Wallace

On June 27, 2011, Secure Axcess, LLC filed a patent infringement action against a host of defendants in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  The list of defendants includes Dell Inc., Citigroup Inc., Continental Airlines, Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Suntrust Banks, Inc.  Secure Axcess is claiming that the defendants have infringed one of more claims of the USPN 6,601,169.

Interestingly, this patent is one in a family of patents that I drafted and prosecuted over 10 years ago, and amusingly, the inventor is my brother, Clyde R. Wallace, Jr.  Clyde actually sold (“assigned”) this patent several years ago, and also amusingly, the ownership appears to have changed hands a couple of times subsequently.  Some of you may be familiar with the recent trend of “paper” companies, a.k.a. patent trolls, frantically buying up patents during our economic downturn with no intention of manufacturing or using the technology, but rather with the goal of simply turning around and suing on those patents.  This business “model” is frowned upon by many, and is believed to be doing more economic harm than good.  Here’s an interesting blog from “The Patent Examiner” (UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Project) reporting on some recent patent troll activities.

Well, I’m not sure how to characterize Secure Axcess or the guys running the show over there.  I’m wondering if they might want me to update my prior art search & render an opinion; I suppose I might do that on my own if I get more interested in this case.  I did see a blog over at broadcasting the fact of this lawsuit, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the author of that blog post was somehow connected to Secure Axcess.

I am, however, amused with patentcall’s pitching of a software package called Patent Tools Premium, which is supposed to somehow objectively evaluate the strength of patents.  A Q-Score is some value that this software automagically spits out, and as these folks put it:  “[it’s based on] a proprietary computer rating algorithm that conducts a statistical comparison of patent quality and value metrics in relation to the other active patents in the patent database presented on a percentile basis of 0-99.9%.” Well, Clyde’s patent received a Q-Score of 96!  Of course I would love to pat myself on the back here, but I am admittedly a bit skeptical of any software package that purports to accurately weigh-in on a patent’s quality through some automated process.  Evaluating a patent’s strength calls for a great deal of research and analysis that I really doubt any software package can do automagically.

As for the litigation, it’s still in its infancy, so nothing has really happened as of yet.  But I’ll be sure to post more details as they come to light.


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