When word broke in February that Lodsys LLC had filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against some of the bigger players in the printer and information technology (IT) industries, including Brother International, Canon U.S.A., Hewlett-Packard (HP), Hulu, Lenovo, Lexmark International, Motorola Mobility, Novell, Samsung Electronics, and Trend Micro, we were left with more questions than answers. What exactly is Lodsys and what does it do? Like many others, we had never heard of company prior to its filing the lawsuit on February 11. What exactly is the intellectual property that Lodsys claimed so many major companies had infringed? How could it be that so many seemingly disparate products from companies engaged in different businesses infringe the same patents? Our first article on the lawsuit, “Lodsys Launches Patent-Infringement Suit against Brother, Canon, HP, Lexmark, Samsung, and Others,” sought to provide at least some initial answers to these questions.
The case is of interest to printer OEMs, non-OEM supplies vendors, and those who follow these industries because some of the products that Lodsys claims infringe its patents are printers and MFPs that use Universal Print Drivers, software to access various MFP functions, or software that shares with the vendor information about supplies usage and/or helps users order supplies online.
Now, various defendants in the Lodsys lawsuit have had time to answer Lodsys’s complaint. While we still have many questions about the lawsuit and the patents involved, the filing of various answers and motions in response to the lawsuit provides a bit more information. As you might expect of big-name companies with seasoned legal teams, the printer OEMs are contesting Lodsys’s allegations and making various counterclaims. It seems that the printer OEMs will share a common defense strategy—namely that they did not infringe and that Lodsys patents are invalid under U.S. patent law, including 35 U.S.C. §§ 101, 102, 103, and 112, among other defenses. Canon and Lexmark have also filed motions to dismiss parts of Lodsys’s lawsuit. Lodsys has filed its answers to the motions to dismiss, which, of course, it opposes, and to various counterclaims. Because of our printer and supplies-specific focus, here we focus on the responses by various printer OEMs, including Brother, Canon, HP, and Lexmark. Samsung has until May 24 to file its answer to the complaint. Although we are less interested in the details of the complaint as they pertain to Hulu, Lenovo, Motorola Mobility, Novell, and Trend Micro, our reading of some of the other high-tech respondents’ answers to the complaint indicates they are responding in a similar fashion to the printer OEMs.