Boston Vs. Silicon Valley: Lawsuits Filed Against Adobe, Google, PacBio (Who’s Next?)

9/21/10Follow @gthuang

OK, four lawsuits filed in a month—all in the same direction—makes a trend. (Though two are from the same company.) September is shaping up to be the month of Boston versus Silicon Valley, when it comes to tech and life sciences companies trying to protect their intellectual property.

—The news today is that Newton, MA-based startup EveryScape is suing San Jose, CA-based Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE) over copyright infringement. Mass High Tech has the details here. EveryScape, which makes software for creating 3-D virtual environments from digital photos (both indoors and outdoors), alleges that Adobe infringed on two copyrights that protect a graphics editing technology called “structure preserving clone brush.” According to the report, the suit alleges the technology had been developed by EveryScape founder Mok Oh as a plug-in to Adobe Photoshop, and that Adobe later released a Photoshop feature called Vanishing Point that copied it.

—In a case that is shaking the arena of location-based mobile technologies to its core, Boston’s Skyhook Wireless filed two lawsuits last week against Mountain View, CA-based search giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). The first suit alleges that Google interfered with contracts Skyhook had signed with Motorola and Samsung to put Skyhook’s location-finding software on mobile phones that run on the Google Android platform. The second suit says that Google’s location-finding technology infringes on four Skyhook patents issued between 2007 and 2009. Skyhook is seeking injunctions and monetary damages. “What’s really at stake,” my colleague Wade wrote, “is who will have access to the bonanza of location data generated by consumers using location-aware applications on their mobile phones.”

—Meanwhile, biotechies can also litigate with the best of them. Earlier this month, Helicos BioSciences (NASDAQ: HLCS) the Cambridge, MA-based maker of gene sequencing instruments, filed a lawsuit accusing Menlo Park, CA-based Pacific Biosciences of infringing on four patents that cover single molecule sequencing technologies. Helicos is seeking an injunction and monetary damages. PacBio, for its part, filed paperwork last month for what it hopes will be a $200 million IPO, as my colleague Luke reported.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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