Further Coverage of SipCo’s abuse of the Patent System

Last time I wrote about SipCo’s case against Digi International et al, and I want to write about their defence against Sipco, but not right now. There is a concurrent case that Sipco is trying against Amazon.com, Cooper Industries, Cooper Wiring Devices, Crestron Electronics, Eaton Corp., Hawking Technologies, HomeSeer Technologies, Intermatic, Inc., Leviton Manufacturing, Smart Home Systems, Wayne-Dalton Corp., and X10 Wireless Technology. Whew!

The original complaint was brought in the fall of 2008, and the case is ongoing. The latest activity involves transferring the case to a different court because the judge originally assigned is retiring. Lots of stuff has happened, including a train-wreck of sorts, but I’ll get to that. Plaintiffs Intermatic Inc., Cooper, HomeSeer, and Hawking Tech., and Leviton have all settled. That means that most likely they have come to some licensing terms with SipCo. Amazon, Eaton,  Crestron, Smart Home Systems, Wayne-Dalton, and X-10 are all in the fight against Sipco.

I’m getting all my information from the public records system at ECF Live, the US court filing system. Most of the documents are dry dry dry, but sometimes there are glimmers or reveals of the human story behind the scenes. This case has two fun stories so far.

Smart Home Systems wrote a letter in response to the original complaint back in October of 2008. The president, Allan Diamanti, wrote the letter himself. Smart Home Systems is a small company in upstate NY that sells products to DIY home owners who want to improve security and efficiency in their homes. They claim to be re-sellers of technology products (from some of the companies listed in the suit) and didn’t have the funds to enter the suit with lawyers. They decided to rely on their named product manufacturer and the other parties to act as insulation for them. It is surprising that SipCo would include Smart Home Systems in the suit, since there are hundreds of small reseller companies like them in the market. Smart Home offered to SipCo that they may have made a mistake and confused them with Smart Labs (CA company) which is a manufacturer of wireless tech. That’s very generous of Smart Home, since the attack on Smart Home appears very malicious. I have a warm spot in my heart for Smart Home, a small company in my home state that caters to DIY home owners like me. My own business is small, and I don’t want to get caught up in some big nasty lawsuit either. I guess SipCo is trying to make it very clear that no company no matter how large or small will get away from their clutches. Smart Home Systems is still in the fight, having filed a more formal response and defense. Go Smart Home Systems!!!

The other human story pulled from the court filings is sad and tragic. If it turns out that SipCo’s case is full of hot air and bullshit (which it seems to me) then the story of Hawking Technologies will be one of unnecessary tragedy.

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