Motorola Solutions Sues Patent Firm Over Tracking Chips

Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) sued a patent-licensing firm to fend off claims that radio technology used by retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) to track their goods violates patents.

Motorola Solutions sued Round Rock Research LLC in reaction to a series of lawsuits filed last year by Round Rock against Amazon, Macy’s Retail Holdings Inc., PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) and others that use radio frequency identification technology. Round Rock claims it owns the patents on the RFID technology used by those companies.

The RFID products “have not infringed and do not infringe, either directly or indirectly, any valid and enforceable claim,” Motorola Solutions said in a complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

John Desmarais, president of Mount Kisco, New York-based Round Rock, didn’t immediately return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Companies that were sued by Round Rock asked Motorola Solutions to defend them under the indemnification clauses in their contracts with Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola Solutions, according to the complaint.

Round Rock describes itself as a technology company that holds “several thousand” patents and patent applications. Critics of such patent-collecting companies call them “trolls,” a phrase coined by a former Intel Corp. (INTC) executive because they don’t make or sell any products and earn money through patent lawsuits.

The RFID chips are tiny devices that emit a signal to indicate their location. As they have gotten smaller in size, they are used to keep track of inventory or prevent shoplifting.

The case is Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Round Rock Research LLC, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington at schurch3@bloomberg.net; Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at jfeeley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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