Maxim Integrated Products v. The World
In the second half of 2011, the semiconductor company Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (MIP) sent letters to multiple companies asserting infringement on four of MIP’s mobile application patents. In 2012, MIP started filing lawsuits against many of those companies. Meanwhile, other proactive entities are filing invalidation suits against MIP. This tangled mess has quickly become a Gordian knot in need of cutting, and the corporations attempting to invalidate MIP’s patents have started doing so.
MIP is going after companies which use mobile applications (apps) that allow people to make financial transactions. For example, using Starbuck’s app a customer is able to pay for their purchase and Comerica’s app allows the user to bank from their phone . To see a list of companies that enable their customers to transact on apps and therefore are involved in litigation with MIP, please see the full report. Displayed in the right column of the table are companies that are attempting to invalidate in the courts the same four patents which MIP is asserting .
None of the companies involved are competitors to MIP, which only has one iPhone app, a part selector which no barista has yet to accept as a valid form of payment. On the surface, MIP does not appear to need the money from the lawsuits. They have revenue of approximately $2.5 billion and net income close to half a billion dollars in 2011. MIP’s stock prices have actually been progressing after a bottom in the first quarter of 2009. However, their $2.5 billion of revenue still doesn’t place them in the top 25 semiconductor companies and gives them less than 1% of the market.
In 2001, MIP bought a fellow semiconductor company called Dallas Semiconductor Corporation (DSC) . By doing so they also acquired DSC’s patent portfolio. Included in that patent portfolio are US 5,949,880 (the ‘880 patent), US 6,237,095 (the ‘095 patent), US 5,940,510 (the ‘510 patent), and US 6,105,013 (the ‘013 patent). Those patents are the four asserted by MIP against the previously listed companies.
Those suing MIP are doing so in an attempt to invalidate those patents and are filing in their home states, which is in contrast to MIP which is filing in the Eastern District of Texas . This gives another indication that MIP’s activities are clearly trollish. However, what is more interesting are the entities suing MIP which have no dog in the race, and are trying to kill these patents before they spread too much havoc.