Mohawk Tribe sues Microsoft, Amazon for patent infringement

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which captured headlines last month for its unusual patent deal with drugmaker Allergan, will be doubling down inside patent space, Wednesday filing lawsuits against Microsoft along with also Amazon claiming patent infringement.

The tribe will be a co-plaintiff with smaller tech firm SRC Labs, which claims the tech giants have been infringing its patents on data processing technologies for years. The company along with also the tribe are seeking damages along with also royalties.

SRC transferred the patents to the tribe in early August, a month before the tribe’s partnership with Allergan captured national headlines. Native American tribes possess sovereign immunity to patent challenges through a system known as inter partes review, along with also the partnerships with both Allergan along with also SRC are designed to shield the patents via those challenges.

The Allergan partnership drew backlash via at least nine members of Congress, with one, Sen. Claire McCaskill, introducing legislation seeking to abrogate tribal sovereign immunity in of which context.

Allergan said the item struck the deal with the tribe to avoid the “double jeopardy” of defending its patents, on the blockbuster eye drug Restasis, in both the federal court system along with also through IPR challenges via generic-drug makers. Monday, a federal court judge invalidated the patents. Allergan said the item will appeal.

The partnership with the SRC will be designed to protect the patents via a counter-challenge via Microsoft along with also Amazon through the IPR system. Critics of IPR say the item can tie patent holders up in perpetual legal limbo as challengers file repeated complaints, whereas patent challenges through federal courts are decisive. Proponents of IPR say the item’s vital for dismantling bad patents.

The tribe says its patent partnerships are part of its efforts to economically diversify, noting gaming revenue via a casino the item operates has leveled off in recent years, along with also of which the item has significant health along with also economic challenges in its community. inside Allergan partnership, the pharmaceutical company paid the tribe $13.75 million after transferring the patent rights along with also then licensing them back exclusively.

The terms of the deal with SRC weren’t immediately known.

“To overcome these economic disadvantages, the tribe took steps to diversify its economy with investments in innovative business along with also various enterprises to foster jobs along with also entrepreneurship,” the tribe said in its complaint against Microsoft, filed Wednesday morning inside U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Amazon complaint was filed inside same court.

The tribe also said the item’s creating a technology along with also innovation center to promote modernization of its businesses, create revenue along with also jobs along with also “promote the education of Mohawks inside fields of science, technology, engineering along with also math.”

Microsoft along with also Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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