came across a fascinating story on AP. it belongs more properly in the Legal or Business & Technology forums, so i'm posting it here since i don't want to post it in 2 places. i'm not sure why it was written over a year after the events it describes. i'm only providing opening paragraphs plus a link to the rest; hope that's not a copyright violation. if any lawyers out there are familiar with the case in question, i'd enjoy reading your commentary.
By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Aug 21, 8:22 PM ET
Robert Shillman knew that Ford Motor Co. would never let some skinny, lone inventor rape it for millions. Ford was tough, tougher than Jerome Lemelson.
Shillman was founder, chairman and chief executive of Cognex Corp., a leader in machine vision technology, and he had watched as one company after another had crumbled before Lemelson's lawyers. Lemelson would claim that he had invented machine vision and held the patents; when he threatened to sue, companies would pay him off.
When Ford decided to topple Lemelson and prove he didn't invent the technology car makers had used for decades to build vehicles, Shillman exulted.
But then, Ford buckled. A U.S. District Court judge ruled against the company. And once a higher court declined to hear its appeal, Ford joined Chrysler and GM in deciding to settle and pay royalties to Lemelson.
"You have to do what's right from a business standpoint," Roger May, Ford's lawyer, said. "You can't just spend money because it's the cause celebre."
"Ford caved," he said. "Let's call it what it is. They gave in to extortion."
Of the 979 companies that Lemelson lawyer Gerald Hosier would wangle into paying royalties, 800 came after the Ford case concluded.
Link to rest of article