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Freedom Scientific Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against GW Micro

July 24, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We at Blind Access Journal believe it is absolutely critical that everyone in the blind community understand how our assistive technology industry operates, how the competitors operate with respect to one another and how these interactions may impact the extent to which we are able to acquire access to the information and technology available in the world around us. It is to this end that we must, once again, report on another case in which Freedom Scientific is suing one of its competitors. This time, the defendant is GW Micro, makers of Window-Eyes, the second most popular screen reader in the world. In this latest lawsuit, Freedom Scientific claims that GW Micro has violated its patent number 6,993,707 concerning the implementation of support for placemarkers on web pages in Window-Eyes 7.0. Doug has posted an article entitled Do companies really compete on who has the best lawyers? to the GW Micro Blog in response to this lawsuit. We urge everyone to review the text of the complaint below, read Doug’s blog post, make your own judgements and let us know how you believe the connected online blind community should respond. We ask that you understand that this complaint has been acquired at our own expense, and considerable effort and time have been expended in order to provide its content in an accessible format. The text below does not represent an exact replication of the original Federal Court filing.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

TAMPA DIVISION

FREEDOM SCIENTIFIC, INC. – Plaintiff

Civil Action No.: 8:08-cv-01365-JDW-TBM Freedom Scientific, Inc. v. GW Micro, Inc.

GW MICRO, INC. – Defendant.

COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF SOUGHT

  1. Plaintiff Freedom Scientific, Inc. (“Freedom Scientific”) is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  2. On information and belief, GW Micro, Inc. (“GW Micro”), is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Indiana and having a place of business at 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  3. This action arises under the patent laws of the United States, 35 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.
  4. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under one or more of 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a).
  5. GW Micro has infringed, and is continuing to infringe, Freedom Scientific’s United States patent identified below by making, importing, selling, offering to sell, and/or using within the United States certain computer software.
  6. Count I (Patent Infringement)

  7. Freedom Scientific repeats and realleges the foregoing paragraphs.
  8. Freedom Scientific is the owner of United States Patent No. 6,993,707 (the ‘”707 patent”), issued on January 31, 2006, and has the right to sue on the ‘707 patent. A copy of the ‘707 patent is attached as Exhibit A.
  9. GW Micro has infringed, and is continuing to infringe, the ‘707 patent by making, importing, selling, offering to sell, and/or using within the United States computer software covered by the ‘707 patent.
  10. GW Micro has induced and contributed to infringement by others of the ‘707 patent by causing or aiding others to make, use, import, sell, and/or offer to sell goods covered by the ‘707 patent within the United States.
  11. GW Micro’s infringement of the ‘707 patent is and has been willful, has caused and will continue to cause Freedom Scientific to suffer substantial damages, and has caused and will continue to cause Freedom Scientific to suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.

WHEREFORE, Freedom Scientific requests that this Court:

  1. Enter a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining GW Micro and its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, licensees, successors, assigns, and all those acting for any of them or on their behalf, or acting in concert with them, from further infringement of the ‘707 patent;
  2. Award Freedom Scientific compensatory damages, costs, and interest for patent infringement;
  3. Award Freedom Scientific treble damages for the willful infringement of the ‘707 patent;
  4. Award Freedom Scientific its reasonable attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285;and
  5. Award Freedom Scientific such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

JURY DEMAND

Freedom Scientific demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable.

Respectfully submitted, FREEDOM SCIENTIFIC, INC.

Dated: July 15,2008

Case Summary and Attorneys from Court Filing

8:08-cv-01365-JDW-TBM Freedom Scientific, Inc. v. GW Micro, Inc.

James D. Whittemore, presiding

Thomas B. McCoun III, referral

Date filed: 07/15/2008

Date of last filing: 07/21/2008

Office: Tampa

Filed: 07/15/2008

Jury Demand: Plaintiff

Nature of Suit: 830

Cause: 35:145 Patent Infringement

Jurisdiction: Federal Question

County: Pinellas

Origin: 1

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Michael John Colitz, III

Phone: 813/227-6598

Fax: 813/229-0134

Email: michael.colitz@hklaw.com

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Matthew B. Lowrie

Phone: 617/395-7000

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Aaron W. Moore

Phone: 617/395-7000

Email: amoore@11-a.com

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Woodrow Heath Pollack

Phone: 813/227-8500

Email: woodrow.pollack@hklaw.com

Defendant: GW Micro, Inc.

Categories: Uncategorized

9 opinions on “Freedom Scientific Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against GW Micro

  1. I again think that we need to raise as much of a public cry as posible. I would sign a patition, is there any way to express our discussed directly to freedom?

  2. One thing that scares me is that FS will target the open source screen reader NVDA. If this happens, the NVDA team will most likely be forced to stop development of their screen reader, and since it’s mainly a two-man operation, they probably won’t be able to afford a few dozen lawyers, unlike FS.

  3. FS is a much larger operation than GW Micro; I sure hope Doug’s team prevails. It is certainly well founded that companies can and do protect their patents and trademarks; but even if Freedom Scientific wins the case; they’ll lose the PR war. In the end, they might as well change their name to Freedumb Scientific.

  4. I second the request for a petition.

    I’ve been a GWMicro custommer since before it was GWMicro, back in the Screen Talk and Word Talk days. Never used another screenreader till getting the ZoomText that includes screen reading capability, and even so still rely heavily on Window-eyes. It’s an excellent product, and I want to support GWMicro at this time.

  5. Hi,

    I think it’s too bad that fs, like so many other companies, feel that instead of innovating under the compelling force of compitition, they must fight in the courtroom.

    While i am all for a company protecting their assets, in too many cases, companies cross that line from protection to intimidation.

  6. having read both sides, I see this as nothing ore than an attempt by fs to derail competition. as seems to be historically the case with RnD re screen reader technology. I too support gw micro

  7. I also think this law suit is nothing more than Freedom Scientific’s attempt to remove competition. While a petition may let the company know what we think of this, there is something else we can do that will let them know even more. We need to hit them where it really hurts, and that is in the financial area. My suggestion is that people boycott their products, do not buy upgrades or anything they sell. That will make the most difference.

  8. After having read how Window-eyes has implemented place markers on web pages, I now understand why FS is suing them…The simple fact is that Window-eyes’ place marker feature provides one much-needed feature that JAWS’ place markers do not: the ability to search for a text string to find the place marker. As a JAWS user, I find it very frustrating to define a place marker, only to come back to the same site on another day to find that the section of the page I want is no longer where the place marker is set. Window-eyes’ ability to find a place marker based on a string of text solves this problem nicely. so basically, FS is acting like a big baby because GW has beaten them in the place marker functionality department. FS should stop wasting their time trying to squash the competition through litigation, and spend more time trying to squash the competition through innovation. don’t sue GW because their place marker feature is better — turn around and make your place marker feature better than theirs. While you’re at it FS, how about finally fixing JAWS so that it doesn’t completely stop talking whenever Outlook encounters an error. One thing that should never ever ever happen to a screen reader user is to have that screen reader just suddenly stop talking.

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