The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hoping that the saga of US Patent No. 8,473,532 will serve as a reminder that many universities aren’t doing what they can to make the patent system work better.
The ‘532 patent, “Method and apparatus for automatic organization for computer files,” describes little more than a system of sorting files into folders.
That alone would be enough to make it the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s pick for “Stupid Patent of the Month.”
In September, Louisiana Tech went on to strike a deal with an entity called Micoba LLC to enforce the patent, which resulted in a series of 11 lawsuits filed later in the year, all in the Eastern District of Texas.
Defendants in those lawsuits include seven defendants that already appear to have settled the claims, since the federal court records show their cases are closed: Syncplicity, iDrive, Dropbox, SpiderOak, Workshare Technology, Egnite, and Carbonite.
Four other companies—Asustek, Box, Citrix, and SugarSync—have ongoing litigation.
The lawsuits accuse the companies of having products that automatically sort files into folders based on the names of the files and the folders.
The allegedly infringed claim is number 13, which reads:
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