On November 8th, 2012, Automated Facilities Management Corporation (AFMC), a Texas corporation, filed suit against Ventyx USA, Inc., a Georgia corporation with a principal place of business in Colorado, for the manufacture and sale of Ventyx's “Ellipse” product, an asset management program which, according to the complaint, infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,548,970 and U.S. Patent No. 7,606,919, both titled "System and Method for Managing Maintenance of Building Facilities."
USPTO records indicate that TangoPoint Inc. is the assignee of the patents-in-suit. AFMC claims to be an exclusive licensee of the ‘970 and ‘919 patents with the "sole right to bring suit for infringement." AFMC has filed at least ten similar suits over the past year in other courts, including the Northern District of Alabama, the Northern District of California, the Northern District of Illinois, the District of Massachusetts, the District of New Hampshire, and the District of South Carolina. The majority of those cases have been terminated. According to SEC filings and other publicly available information, AFMC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, a publicly traded company known for its patent licensing activity. Acacia has issued press releases (see here and here) about AFMC's "successful" litigation outcomes in other jurisdictions.
In addition to injunctive relief, AFMC seeks damages totaling "no less than five million dollars," prejudgment interest, and the costs of the action.
The case is Automated Facilities Management Corporation v Ventyx USA, Inc., No.1:12-cv-03927-JOF, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester.
Note: Thanks to Nick Vaughan, a paralegal at Womble Carlyle, for his assistance in the preparation of this post.Copyright © 2013 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.