Monday, June 21, 2010

Patent Holding Company Targets Law Firms and Corporations Over Annuity and Renewal Services

WhitServe LLC v. Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aranoff LLP et al., 8-10-cv-01639 (D. Md. 2010).

WhitServe previously sued Computer Packages, Inc. (“CPI”) on patents relating to online patent annuity and trademark renewal payment service.  WhitServe prevailed with a finding of willful infringement against CPI and was awarded $8.3M.  Whitserve previously tried to add certain CPI customers to the action, but was precluded from doing so by the district court.  After receiving the verdict in May, WhitServe has started to go after corporations and law firms utilizing CPI's services.  From the complaint:

During the course of the Connecticut litigation, WhitServe sought damages attributable to the law firms' service fees and the benefits derived by corporate users, since CPI is a joint tortfeasor with the law firms and corporations and jointly and severally liable for their infringement. Although CPI provides its clients with the EARS products, CPI sought to avoid its liability as a joint tortfeasor. Through motions to preclude, CPI sought to prevent WhitServe from introducing evidence of the law firms' revenue from their use of the EARS products on the grounds that the law firms' revenue far exceeded its own and CPI would not be willing to pay a royalty for the law firms' or corporations' use of EARS. The Connecticut court granted CPI's motion to preclude WhitServe from introducing evidence at trial regarding these revenues and benefits on the grounds that WhitServe did not rely on actual income figures from CPI's customers. Thus,WhitServe's damages associated with the law firms' and corporations' use of the EARS products was not resolved by the Connecticut litigation.

WhitServe adds:
Plaintiff WhitServe engaged the services of independent investigators to identlfy customers of CP'i which are using the EARS products. The named Defendants were identified by the independent investigators pursuant to those investigations. The identities of additional Does will be added as they are identified by Whitserve's investigators andfor through discovery of CPi.
WhitServe is founded by Wesley Whitmyer, Jr. who also practices as a patent litigator at St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens.

The patents-in-suit are

United States Patent No. 5,895,468, entitled "System Automating Delivery Of Professional Services"
United States Patent No. 6,182,078, entitled "System For Delivering Professional Services Over The Internet"

Download a copy of the complaint here (link)

Hat tip: Docket Report

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