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Cisco, Verizon, Ericsson Hit With $500M Antitrust Claim

A new antitrust complaint accuses some of the biggest players in wireless of ganging up on small patent rivals.

The $500 million claim is being made by SITI-Sites.com and MLR, which is a buyer of SITI patents. The groups calls Verizon, Ericsson and Cisco “the titans of wireless technology” and say they are in cahoots to make the patents of their smaller competitors worthless. It stems from the creation of the Allied Security Trust, which includes not only Cisco, Verizon and Ericsson, but also Philips, RIM, Avaya, Motorola, HP and more. On its Web site, the Allied Security Trust touts its purchasing power, “provid[ing] you with significant exposure to potential purchasers of patents, and potentially higher bid amounts than would likely be possible from individual companies.” But in their complaint, the plaintiffs say it actually “prevent[s] small patent rivals from licensing or selling their patents at fair market value.”

SITI says the big boys will exert more control over product development in the wireless arena by “drying up” the little guys’ patents for 3G and 4G technology. The complaint goes on to say that the Allied Security Trust has been using price fixing, market manipulation, shady transactions and deceptive buying practices to “dry up” the patents.

“Defendants want to force these patterns into the open market at low prices, so they can more easily compete against one another,” says the complaint, “and freely advance the technology as they see fit.”


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