RealNetworks last week won their patent case against the Boston company Ethos Technologies. [Article] Ethos had asserted that Real infringed two of Ethos’ patents related to downloading technology. According to reports, the jury returned a “unanimous verdict finding that Real did not infringe on any of the 10 claims asserted against in the suit, which was filed in 2002 and sought over $200 million in damages. Moreover, the jury invalidated 7 of the 10 claims.”
In a recent interview, I asked Dave Stewart, Real’s VP and Deputy General Counsel, whether this case altered Real’s position on patent reform:
[Dave Stewart] Our experience in the Ethos litigation confirms our longstanding position on patent reform. We believe the patent system is in need of reform to improve both the quality of the patents issued as well as the time it takes to issue a patent. As a general matter, we have been supportive of most of the Business Software Alliance‘s patent reform efforts. One important step in this regard would be to ensure that all fees paid by inventors be specifically designated for use by the USPTO, which is significantly under funded.
Dave’s response is probably representative of many of the leading technology companies — reform is needed to improve quality and reduce pendency.