Scott Daniels | January 9, 2013
Round Rock Research LLC is one of those “Non-Practicing Entities” that some people love to hate but wish they owned. It describes itself as “a technology research and patent licensing company.” It is reputed to own 4,500 patents obtained from semi-conductor Micron Technology, Inc. and lists Apple, Sony, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, IBM, LG, RIM, Sharp and Oracle among its licensees.
Round Rock is currently involved in litigation against Facebook and Twitter, but it is best known for its law suits against a series of famous retailers – most notably, Amazon, PepsiCo and Macy’s – accusing them of infringing a long series of patents claiming RFID technology. These retailers appear to be customers of Motorola Solutions, Inc., that has sued Round Rock for declaratory judgment that the patents are invalid.
More interesting, though, is that many of Round Rock’s patents have been the target of anonymously filed ex parte reexamination requests. The chart below shows the results to date:
As can be seen, the results so far are mixed. The claims of many of the Round Rock patents now face rejection, but several of the RFID patents in litigation – among them , the ‘531, 726, ‘544 and ‘650 patents – have emerged unscathed from reexamination with their claims intact. Certainly, reexamination and review at the Patent Office remain a preferred strategy for an accused infringer to defend itself, but there is also the possibility of a patent owner actually enhancing the strength of its portfolio.