Back in December, we published a story about a patent (6665797) belonging to Ho Keung Tse. The patent supposedly covered a DRM method by which users could download paid digital content to multiple devices without going through another payment process.
During a previous suit against a handful of tech companies, most of Tse's patent was invalidated. After amending the patent's language, Tse went after Google, Samsung, HTC, and Blockbuster, but a summary judgment stopped his case in its tracks.
Tse was planning to appeal his case to the US Supreme Court, but in the meantime he went after independent developers. In a notice distributed to developers, Tse said Google's Play Store (and by extension any dev with apps on the store), was violating his patent.
He threatened "thermonuclear" legal action unless developers either filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to support his petition for a writ of certiorari, or filled out a "declaratory statement on Google" and provided him with a $250 licensing fee per app (for apps with an income less than $100,000 in the last six months).
At the time, it was obvious that Tse's patent didn't have a leg to stand on, and the EFF encouraged developers contacted by Tse to reach out.
Today though, we have an update - Tse's petition (which was filed in December) was officially denied as of February 23rd, after Google, Samsung America, and HTC America all waived the right to respond.
Essentially, this means that the Supreme Court will not hear an appeal on the previous summary judgment, even if - prior to this rejection - he somehow succeeded in getting independent developers to file amicus briefs or fill out his declaratory statement.
So while Tse can still send threatening letters to developers, there's virtually no hope at this point for a successful case against anyone based on this patent. At last the long and winding journey of patent 6665797 seems to be at a conclusion.
- US Supreme Court