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This came in this morning, from John Lewis, PR Manager at Cognex Corp. We don't normally cover company to company legal issues, but in this case, Cognex has a ferocious reputation as an anti-troll, having finally and completely driven a stake through the heart (yeah, mixed metaphor, I know) of the Lemelson patent organization last year. If Cognex says they are going after Acacia Research (a known patent troll), this should be interesting for both vendors and end users to watch. Popcorn, beer and hot dogs are available thataway at the end of the grandstand.
Any of your readers that are implementing 2D code reading in their manufacturing operations may be interested to learn that Cognex has filed a lawsuit intended to protect them from abusive patent trolling by Acacia Research Corp. and Veritec Inc. The lawsuit was announced in a press release distributed this morning over BusinessWire. Acacia/Veritec are engaged in a patent licensing program involving 2D symbology reading�a technology used by Cognex products. Cognex is seeking a declaratory judgment that none of its products or technologies infringe on U.S. Patent 5,612,524. By obtaining a legal ruling of non- infringement, Cognex customers will be able to buy and use Cognex products without the threat of a lawsuit from Acacia/Veritec on this patent and without having to pay licensing fee to them. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: John Lewis Public Relations Manager Cognex Corporation phone: (508) 650-3140 email: john.lewis@cognex.com http://www.cognex.com COGNEX ACTS TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS FROM ABUSIVE PATENT TROLLING Lawsuit Against Acacia Research Corporation and Veritec Seeks Declaration of Invalidity, Unenforceability, and Non-Infringement of 2D Symbology Patent NATICK, MA, March 20, 2006-Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX), the world's leading supplier of machine vision systems, announced today that it has served a complaint against Acacia Research Corporation and Veritec, Inc. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court in Minnesota. Cognex is seeking a declaration that U.S. Patent 5,612,524, which claims to cover a system for reading 2D symbology, is invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed by either Cognex or by any users of Cognex products. The patent has not been asserted against Cognex, but, nevertheless, Cognex has taken this action to protect its customers who have received demand letters. "Cognex firmly believes in the right of inventors and patent holders to seek licensing fees for legitimate, patented technology. But, we strongly object when questionable patents are used to extort payments from companies that do not have the expertise to challenge the patents, or who, for business reasons, decide to submit to licensing demands rather than to undertake costly legal challenges," said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Cognex's Chairman and CEO. This patent was originally assigned to Veritec, a Minnesota-based developer of symbology codes, and is now part of a patent licensing program being carried out by Acacia Technologies Group. Acacia is a publicly-held company whose sole purpose is to profit by asserting patents that it has either purchased or to which it has obtained rights. "The '524 patent infringement assertions being made by Acacia Research Corporation and Veritec are completely without merit and are, in my view, a form of legalized extortion," continued Dr. Shillman. "It appears that Acacia first estimates the defendant's cost of mounting a legal defense, and then agrees to settle the claim for less than that cost. Even if the defendants believe the assertion is without merit, they nevertheless often choose the less expensive, but distasteful, option of paying off these abusive patent trolls. The tactics used by Acacia/Veritec are similar to those used by the Lemelson Partnership in its infamous licensing campaign that successfully wrung over $1.5 billion dollars in settlements from ethical companies around the world. That campaign was ended when Cognex defended its customers, sued Lemelson and won on all counts." Dr. Shillman concluded, "Cognex will continue to challenge any patent that interferes with the legitimate rights of our customers to freely use our products. And, because this particular battle is far less complex than the one we won against Lemelson, we are confident that the courts will, once again, rule in Cognex's favor."

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