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ASSIA Wins DSL Patent Case Against British Telecom
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:14

Automatically setting each subscriber profile. John Cioffi founded ASSIA because he saw ways to make DSL networks more reliable by dynamically adjusting the network based on regular testing of every line. Carriers serving over 65M lines of DSL believe the techniques work well enough to purchase ASSIA's software and service. BT hasn't bought ASSIA software and Mr Justice Birss found that BT's NGA broadband network system infringes EP (UK) 1,869,790 and that the patent is valid. ASSIA tells me they believe the patent is not "standards-essential" and royalties are not limited by "FRAND." That suggests the potential royalties ASSIA may win are substantial; the TI vs Ikanos/Globespan patent case resulted in an 8 figure settlement. 

   Reporting beyond that becomes subjective so I'll stop here although this is an important story for the industry. I'm on ASSIA's Advisory Board and have a conflict of interest. Here's BT's reply, the press releases with detail and the abstract of the patent itself. 

BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk: BT has been defending a claim brought by ASSIA since November 2011. They had asserted three patents against BT but during the proceedings, they had to narrow their allegations and also withdraw the action relating to one of their three patents entirely.

The High Court has found that BT did not infringe one of the remaining patents and that only a minor part of one network infringed the other. Although BT is disappointed with that finding and considers it has a good case on appeal, BT can make minor changes to its programming to avoid the issue entirely. Accordingly, the decision will have no material effect on the operation of BT’s networks.”  Thanks to Skyuser for pointing me to the BT comment.

UK High Court Holds British Telecom Liable for Infringing

Patented ASSIA Technology

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – December 3, 2013 – ASSIA, Inc., a leading solutions company for broadband service providers, announced that today the High Court of Justice in London ruled that two ASSIA patents on DSL management technologies are valid and that British Telecom infringes one of the

The court determined that BT uses ASSIA’s patented DSL management technology in BT’s Next Generation Access (“NGA”) network. NGA is the fastest growing portion of BT’s broadband network, and provides high-speed access via VDSL.

The two patents in the case, EP (UK) 1,869,790 and EP (UK) 2,259,495, describe inventions fundamental to dynamic monitoring and automatic optimization of DSL networks. ASSIA’s patented technologies improve service speeds and consumer satisfaction on approximately 70 million broadband connections on five continents. That technology, incorporated into ASSIA’s DSL Expresse® software, enables DSL service providers to increase average broadband speeds and to improve reliability across their networks.

Service providers that use DSL Expresse realize a substantial return on investment through improved customer satisfaction, and reductions in churn, customer care costs and unnecessary technician “As a software developer, ASSIA’s principal business is to deliver our award-winning products and services to customers,” ASSIA CTO Marc Goldburg said. “We attempted for years to work with BT in this spirit. When it became clear that BT was using ASSIA’s technology without a license and was not willing to license ASSIA’s technology or products, it became necessary to bring this patent infringement claim.”

Under UK High Court rules, the court will set a schedule for the damages phase of the case. It is not yet

known whether BT will ask the court for permission to appeal.

 

Patent infringement finding against British Telecommunications plc secured by Wragge & Co 

 

Wragge & Co's Intellectual Property team has secured a High Court judgment against British Telecommunications plc for patent infringement in connection with its Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband network.

The case was brought by ASSIA Inc, the US-based broadband software developer and client of Wragge & Co.

David Barron, head of patents at Wragge & Co, led the team. He said: "This is an extremely important case to our client. BT owns the vast majority of the infrastructure for delivery of broadband in the UK. By refusing to take a licence or admit infringement, BT was effectively blocking access to the UK market to our client, leaving ASSIA with no option but to litigate."

ASSIA sued BT for infringement of three patents in connection with three BT broadband services (20CN, 21CN and NGA). ASSIA's patents relate to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) management technologies which underpin how the majority of people in the UK receive broadband services over the phone line infrastructure. BT provides broadband services directly to consumers and businesses, and also to other service providers in the UK.

In a detailed judgment handed down today, Mr Justice Birss found that BT's NGA broadband network system infringes EP (UK) 1,869,790 and that the patent is valid. The other patent relied on at trial, EP (UK) 2,259,495, was found valid but not infringed.

On the importance of this case to ASSIA, company General Counsel Noah Mesel commented: "The result here validates ASSIA's intellectual property with respect to BT and the findings of validity are highly relevant to our discussions with other operators who we believe also implement broadband management systems that read to ASSIA's extensive patent portfolio. ASSIA's management team greatly appreciates the efforts of the team at Wragge & Co and barristers Iain Purvis QC and Joe Delaney."

The Wragge & Co team included Alexandra Brodie, partner and co-chair of the firm's Tech sector team, associates Andrew Maggs and John Coldham, solicitors Michael Carter and Tom Foster and trainee Sebastian Godolphin.

Alexandra Brodie said: "This is a significant patent action in the UK court, and our victory was made possible by our specialist team which immersed itself in DSL technology. We worked closely with the General Counsel and industry experts at our client and with our barristers. Both barristers did a fantastic job working with us in the detailed preparation of the case and in delivering skilful and persuasive presentations in court."

In January 2014, the court will settle the form of the final order including consideration of an injunction and the nature of the damages and costs awards. Both parties can seek permission of the court to appeal the judgment.

Wragge & Co's award-winning IP team is based in the UK, France, Germany and China. It has over 50 dedicated specialist IP lawyers advising on litigation, general counselling, licensing, transactional IP and related anti-trust issues. Recent successes include securing a landmark victory in the UK's Supreme Court against Virgin Atlantic Airways and being named TMT Team of the Year at last week's British Legal Awards.

ASSIA is a strategic supplier and trusted solutions vendor to broadband service providers worldwide. ASSIA, which was founded in 2003 by Professor John Cioffi, has more than 70 million broadband lines under contract with top tier service providers worldwide and is backed by strategic investors including AT&T, Mingly China Growth Fund, SFR Development, Sandalwood Partners, Sofinnova Partners, Stanford University, Swisscom Ventures, T-Ventures and Telefonica.

Inventors Iker AlmandozJohn M. CioffiWonjong Rhe
DSL state and line profile control
EP 1869790 B1
Application number EP20060755837
Publication date May 23, 2012
Filing date Feb 28, 2006
ABSTRACT  (text from WO2006103557A1)
Transitions between states and/or profiles for a line in a communication system, such as a DSL system, are controlled by evaluating the current state of the line and one or more target states. Evaluation of the feasibility of staying in the current state or moving to one of the target states can be based on distributions of reported and estimated data distilled from operational data collected from the communication system. The target states may be prioritized and arranged in a matrix. Feasibility may take into account both the sufficiency of available data and the line's likely behavior in the current state and any potential target state. Probabilities of meeting operational and/or performance thresholds can be used in various sub-rules whose outputs can be combined in an overall rule that provides a feasibility or infeasibility decision. Old data can be weighted or completely purged to control its influence on a potential transition. In a DSL system these weightings, sub-rules and other factors may reflect differences between upstream and downstream behavior and data transmission. Changing line conditions, performance goals, etc. can be accommodated by adjusting and/or updating sub-rules, rules, threshold tables, vectors, matrices, etc. adaptively or dynamically. Methods, techniques, apparatus processes and equipment according to embodiments of the present invention may be implemented in a controller, DSL optimizer or the like. Such implementation may be part of a dynamic spectrum management system.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:35