Dashwire is a small mobile software company. But the Seattle upstart still has to worry about patent issues, and because of that the company today announced that it has entered into an agreement to secure certain patents from the Bellevue patent holding company Intellectual Ventures. In the past, Nathan Myhrvold’s firm has primarily touted its agreements with the titans of technology — companies like SAP and RIM.
So, we were a little surprised to see a tiny startup with just 21 employees join forces with them. But Ford Davidson, CEO of Dashwire, explains the necessity and tells GeekWire that the company recently was slapped with a frivolous patent suit.
“In an industry where some companies choose to compete in the courtroom instead of the market, working with Intellectual Ventures enabled us to gain a strategic IP partner with years of industry experience,” said Davidson in a statement. “Intellectual Ventures has helped us establish a foundation of patent coverage so we can continue to focus on innovation and creating products that our customers love.”
Dashwire’s service allows customers to seamlessly move data between multiple devices and computers, think photos or contacts. That’s an area of immense innovation right now as companies such as RealNetworks, HomePipe Networks and Mozy compete for how people access their data in the cloud.
And when there’s a big opportunity, there’s also on occasion big lawsuits. Dashwire appears to be moving to protect itself from those potential threats, which can be much more meaningful to a small business.
We’ve also seen a number of lawsuits in recent months involving mobile companies such as Microsoft, Apple, HTC and others.
Those suits — known as the “smartphone wars” — played a role in Dashwire’s decision to join with IV.
Davidson tells GeekWire:
Like almost every company in the wireless industry, and lots of tech start ups,– including FourSquare recently – infringement suits are sadly a reality of creating a technology business, especially in the US market. When you reach a certain stage in your company, an infringement suit is going to happen, and even though we are small, as Dashwire has continued to win deals, we have reached that stage where an infringement suit has been filed by a company called Synchronoss. Synchronoss is a public company with a billion plus dollar market value, and apparently isn’t very happy about the progress Dashwire has been making with customers – they are using the suit to try to stifle our innovation and progress. This action by Synchronoss is the same type referred to by Google’s General Counsel on their blog this week and reason they are bidding $900 million on the Nortel patents. Dashwire is following a similar strategy in becoming a customer of Intellectual Ventures and acquiring patents for defense.
We looked at the landscape of patent litigation in the wireless space – which is really a battlefield and some are calling the “smartphone wars” – and the challenge we face, and wanted the best strategic IP partner to allow us to continue to focus on innovation and creating value for our customers. RIM, HTC and Samsung have signed deals with Intellectual Ventures. IV is a leader in this space. We’re excited about our partnership with IV, as they have helped us to establish a foundation of patent coverage, and we believe this is something that is going to help allow us to continue to put the bulk of our focus on product development, innovation, and delivering products our customers love.