NATICK, MA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Cognex Corp. announced that the U.S. District Court in Minnesota has ruled in favor of Cognex in its patent lawsuit against Acacia Research Corp., Veritec, Inc., VCode Holdings LLC (a subsidiary of Veritec, Inc.), and VData LLC (a subsidiary of Acacia).
The ruling by Judge Joan N. Ericksen, issued on May 19th, held that U.S. Patent No. 5,612,524, which claimed to cover a system for capturing and reading 2D symbology codes, is both invalid and unenforceable due to inequitable conduct by the defendants during the procurement of the patent. The court also denied Acacia's summary judgment motion seeking to dismiss a business defamation claim brought by Cognex against Acacia for representations Acacia made about Cognex after the lawsuit was filed.
Cognex, a leading manufacturer of devices used to capture, verify, read, and decode 2D symbology codes, filed its original declaratory judgment complaint on March 13, 2006, after receiving information that Acacia Research Corp. had contacted Cognex customers to demand licensing fees relating to the patent.
"We are very pleased with the court's decision, not only because it means that our customers will be spared from deceptive licensing demands but also because it shows that the courts can and do act decisively to stop organizations that enrich themselves by asserting questionable patents," said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Chairman and CEO of Cognex.
Dr. Shillman continued, "Companies and individuals certainly have the right to seek licensing fees for their legitimate patented inventions. In fact, patents provide an important incentive to the process of innovation by granting inventors the exclusive right to profit from their inventions for a certain period of time. However, abusive patent trolling—the activity of purchasing highly questionable patents from patent holders and then asserting them against well-respected and ethical corporations in the hope of extracting large monetary settlements (which are often calculated to be a bit less than the cost of litigation)—has unfortunately become a growth business in America over the past decade. But unlike other growth businesses that help our economy, patent trolling hinders our ability to innovate and costs our economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year, costs that are passed on directly to consumers."
Dr. Shillman concluded, "Patent trolls are like neighborhood bullies; they can only be stopped by standing up to them, refusing to settle, and then challenging their patents in court, as Cognex did in 2004 when it succeeded in invalidating 14 patents asserted by the Lemelson Partnership and as it did it once again in this case against Acacia and Veritec."
Cognex Corp. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets machine vision sensors and systems, or devices that can see. Cognex vision systems are used in factories around the world to automate the manufacture of a wide range of items, and to ensure their quality. Cognex is a world leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped more than 400,000 machine vision systems, representing over $2 billion in cumulative revenue since the company's founding in 1981. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Natick, MA, Cognex also has regional offices and distributors located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.