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U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Rejects All Sixteen Claims Against Aruba Networks by Motorola

3/17/09 - Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARUN) announced that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) issued a preliminary re-examination report rejecting all claims of Patent No. 7,173,923, one of four patents asserted against Aruba Networks by Motorola in 2007. The patent was originally issued to Symbol Technologies prior to its acquisition by Motorola. In rejecting all sixteen of the patent's claims, and provided that the preliminary finding is made final, the PTO's decision would invalidate the entire patent.

Today's news marks the fourth preliminary finding against Motorola.

Motorola originally asserted four patents -- two from its Wireless Valley division and two from its Symbol Technologies division -- against Aruba with no advance notice immediately preceding Aruba's fiscal fourth quarter 2007 earnings conference call in August 2007. Aruba subsequently filed counterclaims and also requested that the PTO re-examine all four patents based, among other things, on substantial prior art unearthed by Aruba. The PTO agreed to do so.

Requests for re-examination, like the ones filed by Aruba, are often successful in having the subject patent either changed or completely revoked. Motorola itself admitted in a court filing in 2008 that approximately 76% of patents subject to re-examination are either changed or cancelled. "This is the fourth favorable preliminary report in a row from the PTO. We look forward to further proceedings at the PTO, as we advance toward final resolution of these matters," said Michael Attaya of Cesari and McKenna LLP, Aruba's patent counsel.

In September 2008 Aruba filed a patent infringement countersuit against Motorola, Symbol, and Wireless Valley. The countersuit alleges that Motorola (and its subsidiaries) infringe two of Aruba's patents related to managing wireless computer networks and network security. The first asserted patent was assumed by Aruba as part of its acquisition of AirWave Wireless, Inc., while the second asserted patent was issued to Aruba in May 2008. Aruba is seeking a permanent injunction against use of its patented technologies, as well as monetary damages for infringing use. Today's preliminary finding provides support to Aruba's counterclaim of inequitable conduct by Symbol in its prosecution of this patent.

By Robert Hoskins

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