Anthony Hayes, the CEO of Spherix Inc., said the reversal of Vringo Inc.’s $30.5 million verdict against Google Inc. won’t impact the intellectual property development company’s business because the Vringo case involved software and Internet search engine patents which Spherix has intentionally avoided.
The remarks were made during a conference call Monday Aug. 18 with shareholders.
Hayes said the Vringo reversal “was very specific to Vringo’s patents.”
In the Vringo reversal, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a 2-1 decision threw out a jury verdict in favor of Vringo in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, on the grounds that the patents at issue were obvious and therefore invalid. The Vringo patents involved software for Internet search engines.
New York-based Vringo has said it is evaluating its options, which may involve an appeal to the full Court of Appeals or an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The patents owned by Spherix are not software and Internet search engine related,” Hayes said in the conference call. “Spherix does not believe the Vringo case impacts our existing litigation. We are not impacted by this decision.”
Hayes declined to comment on the joint dismissal of Spherix’s patent infringement case against AT&T Inc. along with AT&T’s counter claim, which was approved by Judge Ed Kinkeade of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas on Aug. 13.
Asked how the dismissal might affect a related case involving the same patents filed by Spherix against T Mobile might be affected, Hayes said “generally speaking, when a case settles, a similar case may settle in the near future.”
He declined to comment further.
Bethesda, Maryland-based Spherix filed the suit — Guidance IP LLC v. AT&T Inc. and AT&T Mobility — in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas in December 2013. AT&T filed a counter claim against Guidance in the case.
Both the claim and counter claim were ordered dismissed without prejudice by Judge Kinkeade on Aug. 13. The parties also were ordered to be responsible for their own attorneys’ fees in the matter.
The case was one of two infringement suits brought by Spherix with regard to cell phone location patent number 5,719,584. The other case was filed Aug. 1, 2013 against T-Mobile Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. That case was later transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Hayes said Spherix now has only eight active patent infringement cases. If the case against T Mobile settles, Spherix will be down to seven cases.
As recently as July 29, Spherix said it had nine active patent infringement cases in four groups including cordless phone technology, cell phone location, routing and switching equipment and Internet service providers.
Hayes said in the July 29 statement that “by asserting different patent families in diverse technology fields, we hope to decrease the risk associated with a monetization strategy that relies solely upon the assertion of the same patents over and over.”
The company’s vice president of finance and licensing Frank Reiner also added that Spherix continued to “identify infringers of out patents, which cover many areas of some of the largest technology fields in use today. We foresee many opportunities to monetize these assets in the future.”
Asim Bhansali, a San Francisco-based attorney for T Mobile, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
Shares of Spherix, which trade under the symbol SPEX, fell 7 cents or 4.3% to $1.56 in early trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market on Monday Aug. 18. They’ve traded between $16 and $1.19 over the past year.
Vringo shares, which trade under the symbol VRNG, gained 2.25 cents to 90 cents in early trading on Aug. 18.
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