updated 12:10 pm EDT, Thu August 26, 2010
Protocol patent at center of dispute
Apple, Adobe, Tivo, HP and Xerox are among 23 companies being sued by an Allen, Texas business, Ganas, in a new patent infringement lawsuit. Although four patents in total are said to be at stake, the key one is 7,136,913. This describes "a system for communication over the internet and through a firewall utilizing a single communications protocol," using a simple object access communications protocol, or SOAP.
"This protocol is an XML/HTTP based protocol for sending messages from one object to another across the internet in a platform independent manner," the patent continues. "This type of protocol can be utilized to control network elements provided at various locations." Despite the technical nature of the patent, some of the other defendants include financial institutions like Fidelity, E*Trade and Charles Schwab.
The case is being handled through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which tends to side with patent holders. Ganas is demanding a jury trial, and if victorious an assortment of payments including damages, expenses and post-judgment interest. The case is more likely to be settled out of court, given the potential costs of a protracted battle.