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February 6, 2013

US judge rejects Cisco’s patent racketeering claims against Innovatio IP Ventures

In October 2012, Cisco, Motorola Solutions and Netgear filed a combined complaint against Innovatio IP.

By CBR Staff Writer

A US federal judge has dismissed racketeering allegations filed by Cisco Systems, Motorola Solutions, and Netgear against Innovatio IP Ventures.

Innovatio IP Ventures sued about 20 businesses for their use of local WiFi networking technology made by the plaintiffs and demanded licensing fees, claiming the technology infringes its patents.

In October 2012, Cisco, Motorola Solutions and Netgear filed a combined complaint against Innovatio IP, accusing the company of targeted their clients businesses.

The lawsuit alleged that Innovatio sent 8,000 threatening letters in 50 states to coffee chains, hotels and other retailers for using Wi-Fi technology which features Cisco, Motorola and Netgear technologies.

US district judge James Holderman’s ruling said Innovatio’s petitioning activity was protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

"If true, the allegations do not establish that Innovatio’s licensing campaign alleging infringement of the Innovatio patents is a sham." Holderman said.

"It is enough for now to determine that Innovatio at least has a plausible argument that its infringement claims are still viable. The licensing campaign is therefore not a sham," he added.

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Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler told the Wall Street Journal, "We will continue to work to protect our customers from being abused. Innovatio knows that huge numbers of the small businesses receiving these demands have no need for a license [and] we do not believe those misleading demands should be immune from liability."

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