The legal system in the United States is often considered the best in the world. However, sometimes things that go through the courts defy logic and can give even the most patient person a migraine headache. The latest in legal shenanigans involves East Texas, Apple, and Sirius XM Radio.
In a split decision a Federal Appeals Court denied the request by Apple and Sirius XM to have a patent trial moved to Massachusetts instead of the current location in East Texas. The basis for the appeal was that the plaintiff in the case was essentially accused of venue shopping because the company "moved to Texas just before filing their suit, has no employees in Texas, and their corporate office address is the same address as their patent attorney. East Texas has been viewed as being friendly to patent holders, and thus why many patent holders looking to sue will open an office there.
Sirius Xm and Apple are being sued by Personal Audio LLC, a "company" which holds a patent on "an audio program player that plays a schedule of programs and has controls that allow listeners to skip forward or backward." There are companies that exist that simply try to patent even the most logical or mundane items in hopes of landing a healthy law suit down the line. This would appear to be what is transpiring here.
While the Appeals Court did not side with Sirius XM and Apple on the venue change, Sirius XM did gain a small victory that we can all be proud of. The Judge did not to allow Personal Audio to add XM Radio as a defendant. In a move of gross stupidity personal Audio's Lawyers failed to name XM Satellite Radio in the suit, and further, missed the March 1st deadline in order to do so. The attorneys for Personal Audio stated that they confused the date of this hearing with the March 1 deadline. Perhaps if they were not so busy sorting mail for what must be a ton of companies using their address as their "legal office", the attorneys would not have been so confused. The judge put it best by saying, "plaintiff had experienced counsel who should have known better."
Perhaps keeping XM as a separate company will have some benefit no one considered before.
[ via Law.com ]
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio