San Jose (CA) – In another successful negotiation between industry giants and small companies that exist solely to sue other companies, AT&T agreed to pay unspecified amount of greenbacks to a company that claimed rights over a patent from the cellular technology portfolio.
Name of small company is really interesting: Digital Technology Licensing LLC. The Limited Liability Company part comes as a natural fact, since this company is a subsidiary of IP Holdings LLC, and managed by General Patent Corporation International. It was founded solely to protect the rights of Anthony M. Agnello, Jon D. Paul and Mark D. Clayton, three engineers that filed a patent in 1989.
This patent detailed work of Digital Output Transducer, essential bit in cell-phone technology. Patent 5,051,799 was granted in September 1991 (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=5,051,799.PN.&OS=PN/5,051,799&RS=PN/5,051,799), but their battle against telco giants was unsuccessful, and the company went bust at the turn of the century.
DTL LLC filed law-suits against cellphone manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as well as telecommunication companies Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Cingular. When Cingular Wireless merged with AT&T, this became a lawsuit against AT&T.
During and a bit after CES show, this company settled with Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, and now AT&T followed suit. It is interesting to see that AT&T decided to settle just before the case went to trial, scheduled to start on March 17th… or should we write – next week?
We’ll see what will happen with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, but judging by current rate, these three engineers can enjoy what it seems to be a very healthy pension plan.