Unusual Lawsuit Filed vs. Legrand
Dimmers, LED Light Strips and Lighting Controllers are the target of a lawsuit that reads like a British spy novel.
In 1983, Geoffrey Bagley, a researcher at the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, was issued a patent by British authorities for designs relating to “the detection of a carrier frequency of a direct spread spectrum signal (“DSSS”) in wireless communication.”
According to the complaint, the disclosures in the patent were considered so novel and important by the British and United States governments that secrecy orders precluded publication of the patented inventions for over 25 years. Because the patent was not public for such a long time, the plaintiff claims that the patent is enforceable through 2027, nearly 45 years after it was applied for.
Castlemorton vs. The World
The current patent owner, Castlemorton Wireless, has been on a bit of a litigation binge filing 31 recent lawsuits against companies that utilize certain wireless technologies, including Legrand North America, the parent company of Wattstopper and other lighting brands.
Legrand is in good company as Castlemorton has also sued large companies like Juniper Networks, T-Mobile, Bose and Comcast. All the claims we reviewed specifically cited products that comply with comply with the IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11g standards, and in doing so, those products allegedly violate the Castlemorton patent. If your access to this article is enabled by a Wi-Fi modem, you are likely utilizing technology that the plaintiff is referencing.
The Lawsuit Reads Like a British Spy Novel
By nature, intellectual property (IP) lawsuits are not supposed to be gripping or entertaining reads – but this one was quite interesting. There was suspense, drama, conflict and heroism sprinkled throughout the 49-page complaint. The actual products to which Castlemorton objects weren’t even cited until the second half of the complaint. (Spoiler: Dimmers, LED Light Strips and Lighting Controllers which we believe are typically sold through Legrand’s wiring device channels.)
Our Favorite Highlights:
At first glance, we thought Paragraph 40 was referencing the Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles movie character, Hedley Lamarr. We were rather disappointed when we realized that it wasn't.
With so many large companies and expensive legal teams already months ahead of Legrand, we suspect that the United States District Court in Eastern Texas will grow tired of the repetitive claims by Castlemorton and issue many orders similar to the one below extracted from the Castlemorton vs. D-Link case.
ABOVE: Excerpt from the final court order in Castlemorton vs. D-Link case.
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