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By | Richard Chirgwin 4th October 2011 06:44

Innovatio targets Wi-Fi users with patent suits

Promises not to sue individuals. For now

Having found Cisco and Motorola (prior to its Google borgification) in the mood for a vigorous fightback, Innovatio IP Ventures is changing tack and filing lawsuits against Wi-Fi users for patent infringement.

The company kindly promises not to target individuals; rather, its filings look for payoffs from corporate Wi-Fi customers, most recently hotels.

Patent Examiner details new suits filed in mid-September against major hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt, Best Western and others, all of which accuse the users of violating its Wi-Fi patents and seeking royalties for each of more than 200 locations using Wi-Fi.

This follows an earlier suit brought against Caribou Coffee, restaurant chain Cosí, Panera Bread and others. That suit, which seems to have passed relatively unnoticed at the time, brought a response from Cisco and Motorola seeking to have the patents in question set aside.

Innovatio IP Ventures was only incorporated in February of this year, and within weeks had acquired the suite of patents from Broadcom which it is now seeking to enforce.

The organization told Patent Examiner it doesn’t intend suing individual end users; businesses, on the other hand, are fair game because even a Mariott probably won’t think the reported price tag of between $US2,300 and $US5,000 per site as worth calling lawyers about.

The patents in question mostly cover protocols: like this one, covering a network with a “roaming terminal communication protocol”, or this one, covering mesh networking, or networks with sleeping terminals.

Since all of the patents have passed through Broadcom’s hands, Patent Examiner studiously avoids speculating that the vendor is behind either the lawsuits or the company. ®

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