Unanswered Questions

Submitted by patentadmin on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 17:48

Some time ago, we wrote of Lawrence Lockwood and his tireless efforts to convince a court – any court – that two attorneys formerly at the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLC are racketeers who filed and prosecuted “sham” re-examinations of two of his patents, thereby causing a four-year delay in his patent enforcement campaign and diminishing the value of his intellectual property (see Still A Potent Weapon).

Larry originally filed suit against the law firm and the two attorneys in state court in California. The state court held that Larry’s claims implicated the patent law and, as a result, the case was transferred to the federal district court. The district court then held that Larry’s claims were pre-empted by the selfsame patent laws and dismissed the case. Larry appealed this decision to the C.A.F.C., which affirmed the district court decision, without bothering to explain its reasoning.

When we left Larry, the C.A.F.C. had just denied his request for reconsideration. Well, determined to buck the odds, Larry has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter. While the issue presented – whether such claims are pre-empted by the patent law – is indeed worthy of consideration, Larry is not the most sympathetic claimant.

As we previously noted, Larry stipulated to the allegedly damaging stay of his pending patent infringement litigation and further agreed not to assert his patents against any of the 20 – yes, TWENTY – defendants in the suit. His protestations that this stipulation and settlement were necessitated by his dire financial condition ring hollow in view of the fact that he also boasts of having previously “entered into licensing relationships with over twenty-five companies.”

Were these “licensing relationships” merely nuisance settlements? Is Larry merely a disgruntled patent troll? Are the two attorneys racketeers who are paid by the hour? Alas, unless the Supreme Court takes this case – which is highly unlikely – we shall never know.

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