updated 09:50 am EDT, Wed July 21, 2010
InNova claims Apple and others copy spam filter
Little-known patent holder InNova hoped to seize on the success of others today as it filed a lawsuit claiming that a large range of companies violate a patent on e-mail spam filtering. It accused high-profile technology firms such as Apple, Google and RIM as well as 3Com, AOL, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Symantec and Yahoo of copying technology allegedly invented by InNova founder Robert Uomini 15 years ago. Companies as diverse as Capital One Auto Finance and Frito-Lay were also implicated in the suit.
The firm insists that e-mail would "essentially stop working" if it weren't for the patent, since as much as 80 percent of e-mail is spam. It didn't show how it was using the patent itself.
None of the involved companies have responded publicly to the lawsuit.
InNova fits the common description of a "patent troll," or a company that makes no actual products but instead relies on maintaining patents and starting lawsuits in the hopes of making income based on royalties. The lawsuit was filed in Marshall, Texas, a place often chosen by patent trolls as it has historically ruled in favor of patent holders. InNova is listed as being based nearby, in Longview.