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Both Sides Now

Visto wants to serve customers and sue competitors. Time to choose

May 1, 2006

1 Min Read
Both Sides Now

6:00 PM -- Brian Bogosian did a good job portraying himself as an aggrieved man in his conference call with the press today.

The president and CEO of Visto Corp. must have used the word "reluctantly" at least a dozen times to describe the patent-infringement suit filed by Visto's lawyers in federal district court against BlackBerry on Friday, a few times more than once in the same sentence. (See Jury Vindicates Visto .)

"The fact is that we've been reluctantly pulled into these actions," Bogosian said, referring to the patent lawsuits Visto has filed against Seven Networks Inc. , Good Technology Inc. , Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and now RIM. "Obviously to devote the amount of time and significant resources that these actions require is something we do reluctantly. But to ignore that these companies are taking our assets and blatantly misappropriating them is not an option."

At the same time, Bogosian repeated several times that the main focus of his company continues to be on innovation and serving its customers. Sorry, but you can't really have it both ways. Visto -- which won a jury verdict against Seven for patent infringement on Friday -- recently received a funding round of $70 million. How much of that do you think will be sucked up in going after RIM, which managed to fend off a similar suit from NTP for years before settling two months ago?

Bogosian also invoked Jefferson, Edison, and Bell as inspirations for defending the rights of innovators against large "misappropriaters" like RIM. Well, none of those guys had a business to run, or customers to keep happy. When it comes to patent litigation, you can't have your case and eat it too.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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