Avistar Winning Microsoft Patent Challenges
A couple of months ago, RCPU brought you the
tale of Avistar
, a maker of video-conferencing software that was facing
potentially fatal challenges of 29 of its U.S. patents from none other than
Back then, we held -- as we do now -- that Microsoft was just trying to put
a struggling company out of business and snake its stuff in order to bolster
Redmond's own growing unified communications capabilities. Of course, not
everybody shared our take, but we've stuck with it.
So, it was with a bit of a non-objective sideways grin that we received word
today (as did everybody else; it came out in
a press release) that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has rejected,
thus far, 14 of the 29 challenges to Avistar's patents put forth by Microsoft.
To this point, the press release said, the USPTO has agreed to reexamine nine
of the patents, so Avistar is still in danger of losing a few battles.
While we don't know the details of all 29 patents and can't comment on which
ones might or might not be legitimate (and while we'll allow that some are probably
stronger than others), we were never comfortable with the fact that Microsoft
threw all 29 -- pretty much Avistar's entire U.S. patent lot -- up for reexamination.
So, yeah, we're kind of pleased by today's news, honestly. It sort of feels
like justice, and there's not always a lot of that in today's tech industry,
with its domination by a few giant vendors.
Again, we're not anti-Microsoft; we defend Redmond all the time here. We're
just glad to see that a smaller competitor is fighting in the face of a wealthier
(and ill-behaving, in this case, we believe) monster and is actually winning
a battle or two. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting story to follow.
Have any more comments on Avistar or on how Microsoft sometimes does business?
Shoot them to [email protected].
Posted by Lee Pender on June 03, 2008