A small company in Washington that partnered with Siemens on a project in 2008 to enhance automated manufacturing equipment is now suing the multinational corporation for patent infringement.

Siemens is one of five defendants listed in three infringement complaints filed earlier this week by ROY-G-BIV Corporation, a company in Bingen, Wash. focused on patenting motion control software technology. The four other defendants are Honeywell International, ABB Inc., Motiva Enterprises and Meadwestvaco.

The company holds 41 patents, and this week is not the first time its enforced some of them. ROY-G-BIV filed suit against General Electric and Japanese company Fanuc Robotics in 2007 for allegedly infringing three of its patents – one of which is also being asserted in the suits filed this week. That suit ended in 2009 with a settlement.

ROY-G-BIV Chief Technical Officer Dave Brown called the outcome on the earlier case “very favorable” in an email to The Patent Examiner. Brown seems optimistic about his company’s latest lawsuit launch, noting that ROY-G-BIV is retaining the same group of four law firms that represented the company against G.E. and Fanuc.

The action against Siemens stems from unsuccessful licensing negotiations earlier this year between the electronics manufacturer and ROY-G-BIV, according to the Nov. 15 complaint. In an email sent in June, Siemens “stated that it had no need to license [ROY-G-BIV’s] patents or continue the licensing discussion,” the complaint says. ROY-G-BIV is responding with legal action.

It appears Brown and his partner, company President and CEO Jay Clark, are grooming ROY-G-BIV for more patent battles moving forward.

The pair has “spent many years developing a patent portfolio that covers motion control applications that are widely employed in various industries,” Brown wrote in his email. Further, in September 2010 the company added Laura Stark, a senior executive at the controversial Silicon Valley-based patent enforcer Rambus, to its board of directors, according to an announcement on the company website. Rambus suffered a major setback this week when a jury rejected an antitrust complaint the company was pursuing against a pair of semiconductor companies, causing Rambus’ stock to plummet.

ROY-G-BIV hadn’t filed another patent-related lawsuit until the three this week, filed Nov. 15.

The asserted patents:
No. 6,513,058 for “Distribution of motion control commands over a network;”
No. 6,516,236 for “Motion control systems;” and
No. 8,027,349 for “Database Event Driven Motion Systems.”


The complaints [PDFs] mentioned above:

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