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AST accused of anti-trust violations in Delaware lawsuit

Defensive patent aggregator Allied Security Trust (AST) is reported to be at the centre of an anti-trust action in Delaware initiated by SITI-Sites.com. The company is seeking an injunction and is claiming a total of $500 million from AST and member organisations Verizon, Cisco Systems and Ericsson Inc-Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications,  as well as current CEO Daniel McCurdy and the man he succeeded, Brian Hinman. According to the online Courthouse News Service:

After buying useful patents for its members, SITI claims, the Delaware-based trust disposes of the technology by selling nonexclusive licenses or through trade with an agent of its choosing, with built-in price protections and discriminatory rebates for licensed members.

SITI calls this behavior a "catch and release" plan.

"Defendants want to force these patterns into the open market at low prices, so they can more easily compete against one another, and freely advance the technology as they see fit," according to the complaint.

SITI says it has about 150 global licenses-in-waiting with $260 million in license fees at risk, but Verizon is trying to monopolize wireless patent intellectual property to discourage "game-changing" surprises such as Apple's release of the iPhone.

The trust spent 3 years drying up SITI's patents through sham transactions, price fixing, systematic market manipulation and deceptive buying practices, SITI claims. 

Recently, AST settled a case with internet service delivery business Limelight, which had sought a declaratory judgment of non-infringement against the trust in a case related to four US patents that Limelight claimed AST was seeking to force it to license.   


Joff Wild
IAM Magazine
11 May 2010

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Competition/antitrust, Licensing, IP litigation, Patents, IP business

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