San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won reexamination from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of a bogus patent threatening mobile information access. The reexamination order is the third granted by the PTO after challenges from EFF's Patent Busting Project.
NeoMedia Technologies, Inc., claims to own rights to all systems that provide information over computer networks using database-like lookup procedures that rely on scanned inputs, such as a barcode. NeoMedia has used these claims to threaten and sue innovators in the mobile information space. But EFF's reexamination request, filed in conjunction with Paul Grewal and James Czaja of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, showed that the functionality covered by NeoMedia's bad patent was repeatedly included as part of prior patent applications from other companies.
"Overbroad and invalid patents threaten to chill important innovations, especially for startups and other nascent entrepreneurs," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "It's important that technology in the public domain stays there."
NeoMedia has the opportunity to file comments defending the patent before the PTO makes its final determination. However, the PTO has narrowed or revoked roughly 70 percent of patents it has decided to reexamine.
"Re-examination is an essential part of the patenting process," said Paul Grewal, a partner at Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder. "We are pleased that the Patent Office has decided to examine NeoMedia's efforts to claim for itself what the public has long enjoyed."
The successful reexamination request for the NeoMedia patent is the latest big victory for EFF's Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects bad patents have on the public interest and innovation. So far, the project has helped kill a bogus patent covering a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances. The PTO has also granted another EFF reexamination request for an illegitimate patent for online test-taking.
For the full reexamination order:
For more information about the NeoMedia patent reexamination:
For more on the Patent Busting Project:
For more on Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder:
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder