Avistar 14, Microsoft 9 in patent re-examination battle; shares jump

avistar-logo1.gif Avistar heard from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that, as of Friday, it had rejected nearly half of the patent re-examination requests made by Microsoft regarding Avistar’s patent portfolio. Its shares jumped 21 cents, or 21.7 percent, Monday to close at $1.18.

Avistar supplies desktop videoconferencing and online collaboration tools. Its patents are related to audio, video and data unified collaboration products and services. In February,
the San Mateo company reported that Microsoft had filed re-examination requests for 24 or the 29 patents and subsequently added its remaining five patents to the list.

The USPTO rejected Microsoft’s request for reexamination on 14 of the patents, which Avistar considered to be “core patents,” but it did authorize the re=examination of 9 of the company’s patents. The fate of the six other patents were undecided as of Friday.

The re-examination process, once approved, can take from six month to two years to complete. Paul Carmichael, a lawyer who has previously served as an associate general counsel for Apple after a 30-year career with IBM, serves as Avistar’s primary patent advisor. He viewed the developments as a big success for Avistar, according to his statement included in the press release Avistar put out today:

“Data for the entire history of USPTO’s re-examination activity indicate that only 8% of re-examination requests are rejected,” stated Paul Carmichael. “While we believed that
Microsoft’s challenge to Avistar’s entire U.S. patent portfolio was without merit, we also
recognized that the statistics relating to us avoiding a wholesale re-examination were against us. We are delighted that the Patent Office’s review has resulted in this extraordinary result which validates and strengthens many of Avistar’s most important patents, We expect that the 9 patents that the USPTO has agreed to re-examine at this point also will be validated, and actually strengthened, through this process.”

We couldn’t find any word from Microsoft about the development.


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