AVSR vs. MSFT: numbers of patents or patent numbers?

Yesterday, Avistar issued a press release: Fourteen of Microsoft Re-examination Challenges of Avistar’s U.S. Patents Rejected by U.S. Patent Office. Various reports followed, counting nine re-exam requests that had been determined for re-exam by the U.S. PTO, e.g., Avistar 14, Microsoft 9 in patent re-examination battle; shares jump. Since there were a total of 29 reported filings by Microsoft, that appears to leave six requests that have neither been rejected nor determined for re-exam. (The reported 21 cent jump in AVSR share price from below a dollar to $1.18, might actually be the biggest news, given the NASDAQ ramifications of share prices less than a dollar.)

I’m leery of the clerical accuracy of the “Patent Application Information Retrieval” (“Public PAIR”) data at http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair, because of typos and worse that I have found in the past/find there now, but I have looked there at a few of the Avistar patents. There seem to be three patents of special interest when Avistar asserts patents against other companies. For example, from Avistar Announces Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against TANDBERG:

“Avistar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:AVSR), a provider of business video collaboration solutions and technology, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Collaboration Properties, Inc. (CPI), has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against TANDBERG ASA and TANDBERG, Inc. In the suit, CPI alleges that several TANDBERG videoconferencing products infringe three of CPI’s patents. The three patents involved are U.S. Patent No. 5,867,654; No. 5,896,500; and No. 6,212,547.”

According to PAIR:

  • Patent number 5,867,654, “Two monitor videoconferencing hardware”, has a status of “Reexam Assigned to Examiner for Determination” as of April 11. (Update June 14: ‘654 request for re-exam is now listed as denied, as of June 10.)
  • Patent number 5,896,500, “System for call request which results in first and second call handle defining call state consisting of active or hold for its respective AV device” has a status of “Request for Reexamination Denied” as of May 30.
  • Patent number 6,212,547, “UTP based video and data conferencing”, has a status of “Determination – Reexamination Ordered” as of May 20. (Update January 15, 2009: ‘547 is now listed as “Non-Final Action Mailed”, as of December 5.)

So for these three main patents, the score seems to be Avistar 1 (#500) , Microsoft 1 (#547), with the tie breaker (#654) pending.

But I suspect that the number of patents requested for re-exam, and the numbers of patents where Avistar and Microsoft win these preliminary determinations, will matter very little relative to what happens with that one patent where reexam is ordered.

6,212,547 is likely more important than any of the other numbers above.

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