| WILMINGTON, Del.
WILMINGTON, Del. Jan 23 Opening statements
began on Thursday in patent owner Intellectual Ventures' trial
against Google's Motorola Mobility unit in a lawsuit that could
be a bellwether on public opinion toward intellectual property.
Intellectual Ventures (IV) claims that Motorola infringed on
three patents covering a variety of smartphone-related
technologies, including Google Play. Motorola has countered that
the patents are not valid because the technology is already
well-known to those within the industry, and that IV uses its
patents to sue others rather than to innovate.
Motorola, which developed the equipment used to broadcast
Neil Armstrong's moon landing in 1969, reminded jurors of its
history of building technology. Motorola attorney William Boice
played a recording of Armstrong's "one small step for man" quote
"There's no building at Intellectual Ventures," said Boice.
"They are in the business of bringing lawsuits."
To counter those claims, Intellectual Ventures' attorney
Elizabeth Day urged the jury to focus on the inventors behind
the patents. One of those patents, which covers detachable
handset technology, was issued in 2006 to Rajendra Kumar and
acquired by IV in 2011.
"Motorola will try to tell you the man who loved to invent
didn't invent anything," she said of Kumar.
The trial pits two adversaries in the current debate in
Congress over patent reform. Google, which acquired Motorola in
2012, is backing attempts to curb software patents and make it
easier to fight lawsuits. IV has warned that Congress should not
act too rashly to weaken patent owners' rights.
Privately held Intellectual Ventures and other patent
buyers have been criticized by some in the technology industry
for burdening innovation by using the patents they buy to pursue
lawsuits instead of building products.
IV argues that unlike some of the firms denounced as "patent
trolls," it invests only in quality intellectual property and
does not file frivolous lawsuits. The multi-billion dollar
patent firm has other lawsuits in pre-trial stages and has
agreed to settlements for other, separate claims, but the
Motorola lawsuit is the first case it has taken to trial since
IV was founded 14 years ago.
The trial is expected to last about eight days. If
Intellectual Ventures prevails, damages will be assessed in
The case in U.S. District Court, District of Delaware is
Intellectual Ventures I and Intellectual Ventures II vs.
Motorola Mobility, 11-908.