CopyTele Files Patent Lawsuit Against Microsoft Regarding Skype

Posted May 2, 2013

CopyTele is a “patent monetization and patent assertion” company.  Often times, the media calls these types of companies “patent trolls.”  CopyTele has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft claiming that their VoIP subsidiary company, Skype, is violating their patents.  CopyTele’s subsidiary Secure Web Conference Corp. has two patents called “Method and apparatus for securing e-mail attachments” and “Portable telecommunication security device.”  Both of these parents were granted in 2005.

These two patents contain intellectual property related to web-based P2P communications like what is used in Skype.  The first patent contains I.P. about the exchange of information using public- and private-key encryption where users are identified by e-mail addresses.  The second patent contains I.P. about security devices that have a keyboard, multiple inputs, and multiple outputs.  CopyTele believes that computers and smartphones that run Skype or other web conferencing software within the definition of a security device violates that patent.

“New management joined CopyTele in September,” stated CopyTele CEO Robert Berman in an interview with CNET, “and we saw a lot of potential diamonds in the rough, and this is one of them. It’s the second patent assertion campaign that we launched. We will continue to be active both in the Web conference space and in the other spaces in which we have patent coverage.”

CopyTele filed lawsuits against E Ink Holdings and AU Optronics back in January 2013 in regards to electrophoretic display technologies.  The company bought two more patent portfolios last month and they plan to launch additional assertion programs using them.

Normally I do not like to comment on litigation between tech companies, but CopyTele comes off as being sleazy.  I hope that Microsoft wins in this case because patent trolls have a tendency to stifle innovation.