Bloomberg News

Microsoft’s Skype Infringed Patents, New York Company Claims

May 01, 2013

A New York technology development company said it sued Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) over allegations the software maker’s web-conferencing service, Skype, infringed encryption-related patents.

CopyTele Inc. (COPY:US) said it filed a complaint today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, alleging that Skype infringed two patents for technology that helps maintain secure Web-based communications. CopyTele is seeking unspecified damages, according to a copy of the complaint provided by the firm. The filing couldn’t be immediately confirmed in court records.

“These encryption patents are a prime example of the enormous, untapped potential at CTI,” CopyTele’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Berman said in a statement. The patents have “tremendous value” that was “masked” under the previous management, he said.

Jimmy Knodel, a spokesman for Microsoft who works for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, declined to comment on the suit.

Berman, formerly the chief operating officer of Acacia Research Corp. (ACTG:US), a publicly-traded intellectual property holding firm, said in an interview today that he was hired by CopyTele to turn the technology developer into a similar business.

Acacia, based in Newport Beach, California, controls patent portfolios, licenses them to corporate users and sues (ACTG:US) companies that are alleged to have infringed the patents. The company says it controls rights to about 250 patent portfolios.

In January, CopyTele sued AU Optronics Corp. (AUO:US) in federal court in San Francisco, alleging the company stole patented technologies developed for e-readers. The case is pending.

CopyTele expects to acquire additional patents and file more lawsuits in the future, Berman said.

Microsoft acquired Skype from an investment group for $8.5 billion in 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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