MAD files motion to lift the court-imposed stay of its patent infringement suit

As expected, on June 6, Mission Abstract Data (again, we’ll refer here to the company and its cohorts as “MAD”) filed a motion with the United States District Court in Delaware requesting that the stay in its lawsuit against a number of Big Broadcasters be lifted. (Note: our link here is to the Memorandum in support of the motion. As is customary, the motion itself is bare-bones in nature; the gist of MAD’s argument, such as it is, is set out in the memorandum.) Secondarily, the motion also asks that the court substitute DigiMedia Media Holdings Group, LLC (DigiMedia) as the plaintiff/counterclaim defendant in that suit.  

We’ve been waiting for this, hoping that MAD’s request (and the broadcasters’ response, which will probably be filed in a couple of weeks) would shed useful light on what the recent actions at the USPTO might mean.

MAD’s motion is unremarkable, simply stating that the court has no reason to leave the stay in place since the USPTO has now effectively ruled on the patents. It asks the court to allow the lawsuit to go forward now, and to replace MAD with DigiMedia in MAD’s place, since MAD sold its interests in the patents to DigiMedia a couple of months ago. A court order is needed for all this because, according to MAD, the broadcaster defendants declined to consent to a lifting of the stay or a substitution of DigiMedia for MAD.

The broadcast defendants (according to MAD’s motion) understand that further steps are going to be taken shortly at the USPTO in an effort to invalidate MAD’s patents again. That’s why the broadcasters don’t think the stay should be lifted. MAD counters by arguing that the likelihood of such invalidation is effectively zero, so there’s no point to further delay. 

MAD’s motion does not go into any detail about its theory of the case. In particular, it does not explain why the defendants (or any other broadcaster, for that matter) should pay patent royalties even if MAD’s patents turn out to be valid.

What insights might we glean from the motion? First, it’s obvious that neither side is going to give any ground. Not that you’d expect either one to roll over at this point. But MAD will have to fight tooth and nail for every dime it might ever win.

More importantly, MAD’s motion reminds us not to get ahead of ourselves, and to try to keep ourselves as updated as possible from reliable sources. Knowing what the actual status of things is continues to be important.

We say this because we recently happened to speak with a MAD rep who was urging us to have one of our clients sign up with MAD. The rep told us that the court in Delaware had already lifted the stay. When we told him that the court’s docket didn’t reflect any such action – in fact, at the time of our conversation MAD hadn’t yet even asked for the stay to be lifted – the MAD rep backtracked pretty quickly and couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.

So to reiterate what we said yesterday, take everything MAD says with a grain of salt. Now is a good time to remember that old journalism adage: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out”.