Forgent Technologies is one of the most intellectual property firms. In 1997, it bought Compression Labs. One of Compression's patents, Forgent believes, covers the compression scheme for JPEG. It's been asserting that patent to digital camera manufacturers and has collected over $100 million in royalties so far. Forgent is also suing PC manufacturers in federal court.
Now, News.com reports, responding to a request from something called the Public Patent Foundation, which counts Free Software Foundation attorney Eben Moglen among its directors, the US Patent Office is re-examining that patent. The action could invalidate the patent, freeing a basic Internet technology for royalty-free use.
Forgent executives have said the patent could be worth up to $1 billion.
If the patent is deemed invalid, the company would not be eligible to collect future royalties or pursue lawsuits on the patent. Forgent would not have to disgorge previous royalty payments, said a Forgent spokesman.
"We began investigating the '672 Patent in 2001 and have spent more than three years enforcing our property rights. We have not found any convincing arguments of invalidity, including the recent claims, and as a result we are confident in the patent, and look forward to an efficient re-examination," Richard Snyder, CEO of Forgent, said in a statement.