Sprint loses $30 million patent battle against Prism Technologies

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By Larry Banks

US mobile phone operator Sprint has lost a patent battle and been ordered to pay $30 to a company that says it used patents it does not own. Prism Technologies makes money by licensing patents, and has already taken many companies that use them to court. The company holds lots of patents related to computer security. A jury in Nebraska ruled that Sprint violated two of them.

Sprint loses to Prism Technologies

Prism Technologies also accused T-Mobile, Verizon and US Cellular of violating the same patents. A court in Nebraska ruled in Prism’s favour after it sued sprint for patent violation in terms of managing access to protected computer resources.

President of Prism Greg Duman said the damages were further validation of the patents to which it owns rights. Sprint issued a statement which said it would pursue post-trial motions to contest the outcome. Meanwhile, the cases against the other mobile operators are pending. And another case against AT&T was settled before it even came to court.

Prism claims that other companies such as Adobe, Microsoft, Blackberry and Bank of America have already licenses its patented technology. The decision by the court is just the latest in a series of judgements highlighting the way the United States manages technology patents. But some say that the US system allows companies to acquire rights to inventions and then demand money to use them without having products of their own, a practice which has earned such companies the name “patent troll”.

Barack Obama has already said there is a need for a patent reform bill to help businesses stay focused on innovation, but progress has been slow.


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