Adobe, Symantec Among 10 Companies Sued by Uniloc

Symantec Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. were among 10 companies sued for patent infringement by Uniloc USA Inc., the business that’s been in a legal battle over anti-piracy technology with Microsoft Corp. since 2003.

Uniloc USA and Uniloc Singapore Ltd., which owns the patent, also sued CA Inc., National Instruments Corp., Pervasive Software Inc., SafeNet Inc. and its Aladdin Knowledge unit, Avid Technology Inc.’s Pinnacle Systems unit, Sonic Solutions Inc. and Onyx Graphics Inc. The complaint was filed today in federal court in Tyler, Texas.

The company, with U.S. offices in Irvine, California, has sued 60 companies and reached licensing agreements with more than 20, Chief Executive Officer Brad Davis said in a telephone interview. Uniloc won a $388 million jury verdict in 2009 that Microsoft violated a patent related to product activation technology. The decision was later thrown out by a trial judge.

Uniloc is contesting the decision to vacate, and arguments were heard on the case by an appeals court on Sept. 7.

In the complaint filed today, Uniloc is seeking unspecified cash compensation and a court order that would block further use of its technology.

Uniloc originated with the work of Australian guitarist Ric Richardson, who in the 1990s created a way to distribute and buy music. His invention was licensed to International Business Machines Corp. and was used in “try and buy” compact discs distributed with computer magazines, Davis said.

The company also developed inventions related to online marketing and fraud prevention, he said.

Microsoft Case

Adobe, Avid, CA, Symantec, Onyx and National Instruments declined to comment. Officials with the other companies targeted in Uniloc’s lawsuit didn’t immediately return messages.

The cases against other companies are proceeding as Uniloc awaits a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on its patent dispute with Microsoft. In arguments on the case, Microsoft claimed that it didn’t infringe the patent and came up with its own way of activating software to curtail bootlegged copies and Uniloc defended how the jury came up with the damage award.

The new case is Uniloc USA Inc. v. National Instruments Corp., 10cv472, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net.

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