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Swedish inventor's patent case retried in US

Rebecca Martin · 31 May 2011, 12:51

Published: 31 May 2011 12:51 GMT+02:00

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“If you have the resources you are obliged to fight these battles. Compliancy does not lead to a better world,” Lans told The Local.

For over a decade Håkan Lans has been pursuing infringement suits in the United States for his inventions in colour graphics technology. Despite being the owner of the patent he has so far been unsuccessful.

Now it seems that he will be given a new opportunity after a US judge last week ruled that he should have his case tried again.

Lans was surprised but happy to hear that he will get another chance to have his case tried – a case that has taken on all the characteristics of a full time job, leaving no time for further inventions.

“It is absurd, there are documents with over 100,000 pages to read. There is no time for anything else. But if you don’t fight these things you may lose everything,” Lans said.

So far the case has cost the inventor millions of kronor. And despite more legal proceedings now in the offing Lans is hoping the process will speed up a little.

According to Lans, there is no point in registering a patent today if you don’t know that you have the resources to defend it.

“I have been contacted by so many devastated people who are in the same situation but can do absolutely nothing,” he said.

He says that registering a patent is like announcing to the world that you have something so new and so good that you are willing to have it registered. And as soon as that is done it becomes public, which makes it possible to steal it.

“What is needed is that Sweden safeguards innovation, not in the least for the employment it generates,” Lans said.

Politicians often speak of the “Swedish paradox” - that Sweden pays a lot of money to research and development but receives little profits back due to the inability of Swedish scientists to commercialize their research on the market. But according to Lans this is not accurate.

“These people know exactly how to go about it, but they have no chance to defend themselves. This is a political question, and politicians would do well in bringing it to the fore of the debate,” Lans said.

Story continues below…

According to Lans, the only other option for Sweden to compete would be to be cheaper than the low price producing countries. However, that is not something he would recommend.

“To make it easier to be better and a little ahead of the rest of the world must be the most important question for Sweden, “ Lans told The Local.

Lans' case will be re-tried in a US court on June 16th.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:33 May 31, 2011 by axiom
I have followed this for quite sometime and must say it has be intrigued. This man OWNS the patent, this is not even being disputed.

I would suggest to anyone with a little time to read about his story you will be no less intrigued or puzzled.
15:02 May 31, 2011 by Nemesis
@ axiom,

I have seen this happen before with US. Palistani and Chinese companies.

If a person is not in the US with enough money to defend a patent battle it is more common than most realise for US companies to start mass producing the item in question and make a court case to expensive for anyone but a large multinational to back up a patent claim. Combine that with lax US patent law which allows companies to patent slight variations on an item and you have a quagmire for individual inventors and small companies.

That is why so many researchers, engineers and technicians are lobbying hte EU for Europe wide patent laws that protect against predatory patent infringement from various large companies worldwide.
15:49 May 31, 2011 by Kaethar
I admire this man! Best of luck!
22:35 May 31, 2011 by Frobobbles
I think this whole story is shameful. A patent should be about some genuine new technical invention. But Lans is using his patent to force anyone that creates a color screen that needs - as all of course do - computations, thus using it as a patent on a very common concept. It is something that would never work in Sweden.
01:07 June 1, 2011 by Miltech
I think the EPO (European Patent Office) takes hundred millions of Euro in from small entity inventors and then does not back them up. Actually the EPO suppresses small inventors who are the life blood to innovation and growth in all economies by Citing Prior Art in search reports that is of no relevance to small inventors. The EPO is also guilty of favoring large corporations and they kill off the businesses that pay for our hospitals, schools and care for the disadvantaged in our societies. It is about time small inventors group together and demand either the sacking of the EPO for a more equal system based on fostering growth rather killing it. My heart goes out to Håkan Lans and the millions of other inventors that have put their whole heart, souls and finances into just obtaining Patents let alone trying to find millions to take action for what they have already paid for - Intellectual Property Protection from infringement. It is a corrupt a broken system the Patent system and I know this for a fact since I have faced hell with these large bullies such as the EPO, the UKPO and many of the bent officials elected to protect our Patents.


M. Thompson
08:47 June 1, 2011 by karex
Ironic how US and other countries are all over European governments demanding that they do something to make sure their citizens don't infringe patents, but the reverse situation doesn't seem to apply...
08:54 June 1, 2011 by jackx123
what benefits american companies is not necessarily good for another country/company.

there are countless of instances where inventions have been "stolen" by america. military and medical research after WWII mostly came from germany.

I was just in italy and guess what, met reps of a company discovering one of the biggest inventions in history - the telephone. the name is marconi not bell.
14:05 June 1, 2011 by JackTheReaper
@ jackx123,

Strange you named Marconi. Please search the wikipedia by his name and you know exactly what I mean. I more scientific one from IEEE? Ckec this out:

Welcome to IEEE Xplore 2.0: Sir J.C. Bose diode detector received Marconi's first transatlanticwireless signal of December 1901 (the "Italian Navy Coherer"Scandal Revisited)". Ieeexplore.ieee.org. Retrieved 2009-01-29.

Marconi was a fraud star who LITERALLY stole the work by many, who dis this well before him and he did that knowingly. In most of the scientific journals it has been discussed widely and this chap (shall i say the dark chapter of Marconi) is a closed chapter now!
16:53 June 1, 2011 by zeulf
@jackx123 was not Bell a Euro /Canadian ? or so say some ???
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