Martha Stewart’s company has come out with guns blazing against an alleged patent troll, asking the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin to declare that its iPad apps do not infringe on patents asserted by Lodsys Group LLC of Marshall, Texas.
A complaint filed by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. cites Lodsys’ involvement in 151 infringement actions in the Eastern District of Texas, mostly as plaintiff, as evidence that its adversary meets the test for litigiousness that could qualify Stewart’s company for a declaratory judgment.
Lodsys filed its first case in February 2011 and has secured settlements with most of the defendants, according to the Stewart pleading. In 13 of the actions, Lodsys is defending against actions filed by companies it accused of infringement.
Lodsys’ case against several remaining defendants is slated for trial next month.
In a dozen additional Eastern District of Wisconsin cases filed in 2011 and 2012, Lodsys defended against actions filed by companies it accused of infringement.
Stewart’s company asked the court to declare that four of its iPad applications do not infringe four Lodsys patents. It also asked the court to declare those four Lodsys patents invalid.
As described in the complaint, the dispute dates to Lodsys’ July 2011 letter to Martha Stewart Living. Lodsys said it wanted to reach a licensing agreement for Stewart’s use of its technology. Lodsys dropped the matter for two years, and then demanded $20,000, or $5,000 per allegedly infringing patent.
Lodsys did not yet have counsel in the Wisconsin case and company officials did not respond to requests for comment. Martha Stewart Living and its lawyers at Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck in Washington, D.C., and Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek in Madison, Wis., did not respond, either.
Lodsys is a notorious nonpracticing entity, according to Jason Kravitz, who heads Nixon Peabody’s brands and creations practice from the firm’s Boston office. He isn’t involved in the case.
If Stewart can demonstrate that Lodsys is in fact litigious, that would help establish a reasonable apprehension of an imminent lawsuit necessary for declaratory judgment jurisdiction, Kravitz said.
“The side benefit is showing that, by the way, this company has made a living on these lawsuits,” he said.
Sheri Qualters can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.