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