PATENT ASSERTED AGAINST JPEG STANDARD TO BE REEXAMINED AT PUBPAT REQUEST: Patent Office Finds "Substantial Question" Regarding the Validity of Forgent Networks' Widely Asserted Patent
NEW YORK -- February 2, 2006 -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted the Public Patent Foundation's (PUBPAT) request for a reexamination of the patent Forgent Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FORG) is widely asserting against the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) international standard for the electronic sharing of photo-quality images. In its Order granting PUBPAT's request, the Patent Office found that PUBPAT raised "a substantial new question of patentability" regarding every claim of the patent, U.S. Patent No. 4,698,672 (the '672 Patent).
Forgent Networks acquired the '672 Patent through the purchase of Compression Labs, Inc. in 1997 and began aggressively asserting it against the JPEG standard through lawsuits and the media in 2004. The company has the opportunity to make an opening statement to the Patent Office, to which PUBPAT has the right to make a response. After opening statements, if any, the Patent Office will proceed to determine whether the '672 Patent is indeed invalid in light of the new questions raised by PUBPAT's request. Third party requests for reexamination, like the one filed by PUBPAT, are successful in having the subject patent either changed or completely revoked roughly 70% of the time.
"We are extremely pleased with the Patent Office's decision to grant our request to reexamine the patent Forgent Networks is using to threaten the JPEG standard," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "This is the first step towards ending the harm being caused to the public by Forgent Networks' aggressive assertion of the patent, which would never have been issued by the Patent Office if they had known of the prior art that we submitted as part of our reexamination request."
A copy of the Patent Office's Order Granting Reexamination of the '672 Patent can be found at PUBPAT > Forgent Networks JPEG Patent.