Blue spike, a product company, filed 45 cases in a fortnight. Are product companies behaving like trolls now?


Blue Spike, a company having offices in Florida and Texas, has filed litigation cases against at least 45 companies in the last 15 days. All the cases have been filed with Eastern Texas court, and the defendants include the likes of Google, Adobe, Yahoo, Rovi, Nielsen Media, Facebook, and Myspace.

Prima facie, this seems to be a case of another NPE, but a deeper analysis of the company and its founders reveals that Blue Spike is a product company. Blue Spike is using 4 patents in the area of digital watermarking for litigation. In words of the plaintiff, the patents cover the proprietary technologies, such as  – “signal fingerprinting”, “acoustic fingerprinting”, and “robust hash functions”. Plaintiff further claims that these technologies are the most effective techniques available for combating piracy and enable owners to identify unauthorized copies of their work.

Going through the complaints is like experiencing a fairy tale bragging about the “Creator” of digital watermarking” technology and his achievements. Those who want to read the full fairy tale may visit Blue Spike’s website. Considering the domain of digital watermarking and technology evolution, the 4 patents – US7346472, US7660700, US7949494, and US8214175 – do not seem to have a very impressive earliest priority date. PatentBlast analysts believe that most of the defendants will take Blue Spike head-on and will go for invalidity searches. Breadth of the claims also raises serious doubts on the ability of the claims to survive re-examination.

Looking at the File Wrappers of the patents, PatentBlast analysts found that the originally filed patent applications and the corresponding claims had serious challenges. For example, ‘472 patent received 101 rejection for double patenting and 112 rejection for failing on the written description and enablement front. In fact, one of the patents was declared abandoned by the PTO due to non-responsiveness from the applicant. Net-Net, a deeper review of the patents would immensely help the defendants.

All this does not go without saying that these are just 4 of the 70+ patent assets owned by Blue Spike and we hope to see more action in coming days.