Cognex acts against abusive patent trolling

Source: ControlDesign.com

Mar 20, 2006

NATICK, MA, March 20, 2006--Cognex Corp. a supplier of machine vision systems, has announced that it has served a complaint against Acacia Research Corp. and Veritec, Inc., in the United States District Court in Minnesota.

Cognex is seeking a declaration that U.S. Patent 5,612,524, which claims to cover a system for reading 2D symbology, is invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed by either Cognex or by any users of Cognex products. The patent has not been asserted against Cognex, but, nevertheless, Cognex has taken
this action to protect its customers who have received demand letters.

"Cognex firmly believes in the right of inventors and patent holders to seek licensing fees for legitimate, patented technology. But, we strongly object when questionable patents are used to extort payments from companies that do not have the expertise to challenge the patents, or who, for business reasons, decide to submit to licensing demands rather than to undertake costly legal challenges," said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Cognex's Chairman and CEO.

This patent was originally assigned to Veritec, a Minnesota-based developer of symbology codes, and is now part of a patent licensing program being carried out by Acacia Technologies Group. Acacia is a publicly-held company that asserts patents that it has either purchased or to which it has obtained rights.  

"The '524 patent infringement assertions being made by Acacia Research Corp. and Veritec are completely without merit and are, in my view, a form of legalized extortion," continued Dr. Shillman. "It appears that Acacia first estimates the defendant's cost of mounting a legal defense, and then
agrees to settle the claim for less than that cost. Even if the defendants believe the assertion is without merit, they nevertheless often choose the less expensive, but distasteful, option of paying off these abusive patent trolls." 

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