Jack Ellis

A couple of weeks ago this blog ran a story on Marathon Patent Group’s reported acquisition of patents from Siemens, a company which it is also currently suing in the Eastern District of Texas for patent infringement. According to a press release, the transferred portfolio contains three US patents and 10 patents covering other jurisdictions.

It turns out that these patents were not, in fact, acquired from the universally renowned engineering and electronics conglomerate Siemens – as the press release indicated – but rather from Siemens Enterprise Communications, a separate company which is a joint venture between Siemens AG and private equity firm The Gores Group (which holds a 51% stake in the business) and manages its own IP matters.

Details of the three US patents transferred as part of the deal are linked to below:

5,734,832 – Method for evaluating performance-feature-related messages in a program-controlled communication equipment

5,883,896 – Arrangement for coupling optional auxiliary devices to terminal equipment of private branch exchanges

6,674,848 – Method for displaying performance feature names at a communication terminal equipment

As is clear from these assignment histories, all three patents belonged to Siemens AG before being assigned to Siemens Enterprise Communications in May 2012. Last month, all three were assigned to Marathon subsidiary Bismarck IP.

While there is no suggestion that the Marathon press release was seeking to mislead anyone, the way that it was phrased is not as clear as it could have been. At a time when the activities of NPEs are under an intense spotlight that is unfortunate.