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Texas Firm Says It Holds A Patent On Spam Filtering

Lanier Law Firm files suit against 36 companies, including top security tool vendors

The Lanier Law Firm today announced a patent infringement lawsuit filed suit against 36 major companies, alleging that their use of spam filtering technology infringes on the patents of its client, the Texas-based InNova Patent Licensing LLC.

The lawsuit, filed July 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, names some of the world's most recognizable companies as defendants, including Apple, JCPenney Co., Google, and 33 others. The case is listed as InNova Patent Licensing, LLC v. 3Com Corporation, et al., No. 2:10-cv-00251.

The federal lawsuit focuses on an InNova patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,018,761, that covers "technology used to differentiate between spam email messages and those that users actually want to receive." The InNova patent was awarded to inventor and mathematician Robert Uomini, founder of InNova, nearly 15 years ago.

InNova's complaint alleges that the defendant companies have used InNova's invention without permission for years.

"Email as we know it would essentially stop working if it weren't for InNova's invention," says Christopher Banys, who leads The Lanier Law Firm's national intellectual property practice. "More than 80 percent of email is spam, which is why companies use InNova's invention rather than forcing employees to wade through billions of useless emails. Unfortunately, the defendants appear to be profiting from this invention without any consideration for InNova's legal patent rights."

In addition to Apple, JCPenney and Google, the lawsuit also names as defendants 3Com Corp.; Alcatel-Lucent Holding, Inc.; American International Group, Inc.; AOL, Inc.; Bank of America Corporation; Capital One Auto Finance, Inc.; Capital One Financial Corporation; Cinemark, Inc.; Cinemark Holdings, Inc.; Citigroup, Inc.; Crossmark, Inc.; Dell, Inc.; Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.; Ericsson, Inc.; Frito-Lay, Inc.; Frito-Lay North America, Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Company; HP Enterprise Services, LLC; IBM; J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc.; J.C. Penney Life Insurance Company; J.C. Penney Mexico, Inc.; J.C. Penney Reinsurance Company; JCP Publications Corp.; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; McAfee, Inc.; Perot Systems Corporation; Rent-A-Center, Inc.; Research in Motion Corporation; Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc.; Symantec Corporation; Wells Fargo & Company; and Yahoo!, Inc.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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