updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
NovelPoint tries to sue most PC builders
An unusually ambitious patent lawsuit filed late last week, and published Monday, is hoping to profit from the rest of the industry's work. Largely unknown NovelPoint Security LLC has sued 35 mostly major companies over two patents for a "method for limiting computer access to peripheral devices" and a "network security system allowing access" based on master tokens. The sweeping nature of the patent includes virtually every major PC and electronics builder, including Acer, Apple, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.
Other broader technology firms like General Dynamics, Motion Computing, and Motorola Solutions are also targets.
NovelPoint is relatively transparent in its motives and doesn't make any call for a ban, instead simply asking for the court to provide financial rewards in damages. Each of the lawsuits was filed separately, likely in an attempt to minimize the impact of losing against any one company.
Such lawsuits are common and closely fit the definition of a patent troll, or a company that relies on patent royalties and lawsuits for business instead of meaningful products. Apart from having virtually no existence outside of the lawsuit, it's both filing the case in and operating out of the Eastern District of Texas court area, a zone known to be more sympathetic to plaintiffs in patent lawsuits.
The new case is notable primarily for its scale. Many firms of the kind will try to target major companies, knowing that even a very small royalty could improve their welfare, but they seldom sue as many companies.