Jerome H. Lemelson
America's Most Prolific Contemporary Inventor
Jerry Passed Away 10-1-97
Tribute, By Ronald J. Riley
- Other
Memorial Tributes

Jerry Lemelson was a modern day Thomas Edison. He will be missed by many people.

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In the past, various members of the group have asked me to post key events concerning the licensing of the Lemelson Machine Vision patents or the Lemelson v. Ford lawsuit.

I am pleased to announce that Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and Chrysler Corp. have reached an agreement with the Lemelson Medical, Education & Research Foundation LP and the estate of Jerome H. Lemelson to settle the pending patent disputes that have been ongoing since 1989.  The settlement provides the Big 3 a license under more than 200 Lemelson patents and patent applications.

The settlement ends the lawsuits between Ford and Lemelson that led to the decision that was discussed in this forum last year, reported at 42 USPQ2d 1706 (D. Nev. 1997), which reversed a magistrate’s report (reported at 40 USPQ2d 1349) recommending that the Lemelson patents in suit be held unenforceable for “undue delay” or laches in prosecution of the applications leading to the patents merely because some of the claims issued after lengthy delays in the U.S. Patent Office.  In August 1997, the  United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Ford’s petition for permission to appeal.

The lawsuit obviously did not yet come to trial, and no decision was reached concerning Mr. Lemelson's charges of infringement or Ford's charges of invalidity of the patents.  Nevertheless, Ford and the Lemelson Foundation Partnership have determined that an amicable resolution is in the best interests of the parties.

The settlement also terminates the charges of infringement that led to the lawsuits filed against GM and Chrysler, which were dismissed by agreement in mid-1993 pending the outcome of the Ford litigation.

The settlements also include the payment by each of the Big 3 of an unspecified sum of money to the Foundation Partnership.

The settlements with each of the Big 3 grants their suppliers the right for a period of six months to obtain patent licenses from the Lemelson Foundation Partnership in favorable license terms.

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