Arguing again for lifting of stay, MAD claims it’s the victim of a “sophisticated”, “multi-pronged”, “coordinat[ed]” effort to “attack” and “derail” MAD.
In keeping with our commitment to try to keep our readers on top of ongoing developments in the Mission Abstract Data (MAD) patent litigation in Delaware, here’s the latest: a link to MAD’s most recent pleading in its effort to get the stay of that litigation lifted. Attentive readers will recall that the U.S. District Court in Delaware put a hold on the litigation last year at the request of the defendants, a number of Big Broadcasters. Last month MAD petitioned the court to get things moving. Not surprisingly, the Big Broadcasters opposed that petition, and now MAD has replied to that opposition.
Since (as we have repeatedly acknowledged) we here at CommLawBlog are not patent experts, we won’t opine about MAD’s various arguments. They look pretty much like what you might expect. MAD generally belittles the litigation claims of the Big Broadcasters (and BEI, which has challenged MAD’s patents in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) and bemoans the fact that its case hasn’t progressed. Folks familiar with litigation probably won’t be surprised by anything in MAD’s reply.
Perhaps most interesting is MAD’s repeated insistence that continued delay has been and continues to be prejudicial to its “licensing program”. That “licensing program”, of course, is the repeated, insistent effort by MAD (and its cohort, including DigiMedia and IPMG AG) to browbeat radio broadcasters into agreeing to pay for the right to use MAD’s patented technology, whatever that may be. (MAD reads its patents very broadly; others disagree with MAD’s interpretation. That’s where the USPTO and the Delaware court come into the picture.)
MAD’s business – which it describes as “non-litigation intellectual property licensing” (points for making this argument in the context of litigation with a straight face) – will be prejudiced by continued delay, according to MAD, because:
[d]efendants and their industry appear to have taken a sophisticated and multi-pronged approach to derail [MAD’s] licensing program. Apparently through coordination with state and national broadcaster associations, the Defendants have engineered a licensing blockade, worked with BEI to attack the asserted patents in the PTO, and petitioned this Court to delay the resolution of this litigation pending multiple reexamination requests. Defendants’ conduct represents a calculated effort to prejudice [MAD] by stripping the asserted patents – which expire in less than two years – of their licensing value through delay.
“Sophisticated, multi-pronged approach”? “Calculated effort”? “Coordination”? “Licensing blockade”? Hoo, boy – why not “vast anti-MAD conspiracy”, too? (Also, how come CommLawBlog wasn’t mentioned? As I have previously observed, MAD has identified us – and this blogger in particular – on its website as a source of “some misconceptions” about MAD’s “licensing program” and “ongoing litigation”.)
So, apparently frustrated by the fact that MAD’s target audience doesn’t seem to be buying what MAD’s selling, MAD ascribes that circumstance to some massive conspiracy. Of course, more obvious, and far less paranoid, explanations exist for the circumstances in which MAD finds itself. MAD shouldn’t be surprised that parties which MAD has chosen to sue are defending against its claims. Nor should MAD be surprised that equipment manufacturers – who might be on the hook to their customers if MAD’s patents are as broad as MAD claims – are also contesting those patents in an appropriate forum. And as the Delaware litigation clearly demonstrates, there is considerable disagreement about exactly what MAD’s patents cover and, thus, exactly what MAD has to sell. Prudent businesspeople tend not to make five-figure commitments when it’s not clear what, if anything, they’ll be getting in return.
But we digress. With the filing of MAD’s reply, the ball is now in the judge’s court. Our understanding is that it could take as long as two-three months for the District Court to decide whether to lift the stay. Check back here for updates.