Most of us [legal geeks] dream about a day where we’re presented with a minimalist solution to electronically signing documents. Adobe’s recent acquisition of electronic signature company EchoSign was rumored to be the beginning of just such a scenario. Adobe is allegedly gearing up to integrate the technology into Adobe Reader—and in the not-too-distant future.
But on July 18, the same day Adobe publicly announced its purchase of EchoSign, a patent infringement complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Texas1 by e-signature company, RPost. EchoSign seeks permanent injunction against use of the allegedly infringing services, as well as damages and attorney’s fees.
According to the complaint, the following granted patents are potentially being infringed by EchoSign’s service:
- U.S. Patent No. 7,707,624 entitled “System for, and Method of, Proving the Transmission, Receipt, and Content of a Reply to an Electronic Message.”
- U.S. Patent No. 7,865,557 entitled “System and Method for Verifying Delivery and Integrity of Electronic Messages.”
- U.S. Patent No. 7,966,372 entitled “System and Method for Verifying Delivery and Integrity of Electronic Messages.”
- U.S. Patent No. 6,182,219 entitled “Apparatus and Method for Authenticating the Dispatch and Contents of Documents.”
- U.S. Patent No. 6,571,334 entitled “Apparatus and Method for Authenticating the Dispatch and Contents of Documents.”
Clearly these patents cover related subject matter, but the claims aren’t egregiously broad. Whatever your position may be on software patents, whether or not actual infringement is occurring here will likely only be determined after some serious discovery. Because of the way the claims are drafted (admittedly, this only goes for the three patents I reviewed) the method by which EchoSign employs their technology is an important question that must be answered before we can perform a meaningful analysis.
We’ll continue covering the story, but in the meantime, you can review a copy of the here.
- A shocking choice of venue, indeed! [↩]