Last month, the Patent Lawyer Magazine reported on a new technique founded by Allergan to protect their patents: they signed the rights over to a Native American tribe. This week, the St. Regis Mohawk tribe – the same tribe used by Allergen – has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Amazon and Microsoft using patents acquired from SRC Labs.
The patent-holding company is following in the footsteps of Allergan, which gave six patents covering its $1.5 billion eye medication Restasis to the St. Regis tribe last month. Allergan lawyers are seeking to shut down an inter partes review of the patents taking place at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, by claiming the patents now benefit from tribal sovereign immunity. The move by Allergan may be in vain, though, as they just lost their patents in district court. At least two patent-holding companies have chosen to give their patents to Native American tribes, seeking to benefit from tribal “sovereign immunity” that could avoid certain types of patent reviews at the US Patent Office.
SRC Labs was founded in 1996 to continue the “legacy of innovation” of Seymour R. Cray, who died that same year. Cray was a pioneer in large-scale computer systems and established the operating company Cray Inc. Today SRC Labs’ website doesn’t advertise products, just dozens of patents, organized by year.
The SRC Labs / St. Regis lawsuit asserts that the following six patents are infringed by Microsoft: US Patent Nos. 6,076,152; 6,247,110; 6,434,687; 7,225,324; 7,421,524; and 7,620,800. They relate generally to large multi-processor computer systems and re-configurable processors. All list Jon Huppenthal, co-founder and CEO of SRC Computers, as an inventor.
Amazon was sued using the ‘687, ‘324, and ‘800 patents, all linked above, as well as US Patent Nos. 7,149,867 and 9,153,311. The two patents asserted solely against Amazon have different inventors but also originated at SRC Computers.
The complaints, which were filed in federal court in Virginia, aren’t yet available from the courts database.