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Verint, NICE Continue Contact Center Patent Battle

May 27, 2008

In a ruling that marks the severity and growing frequency of patent infringement in the contact center market, a U.S. District Court in Georgia ruled that Verint did not infringe on competitor NICE Systems’ patent on Internet Protocol recording, Verint officials announced today.

 
The ruling follows Verint’s announcement last week that a Georgia jury declared valid and awarded the company more than $3.3 million in damages for Nice’s infringement of Verint’s speech analytics patent, the company said.
 
Verint Systems’ president and chief executive officer, Dan Bodner, said the court’s decisions gratified his company.
 
“Our commitment to our customers and partners is to deliver innovative solutions with tangible business value,” Bodner said. “Part of that commitment includes protecting the intellectual property in those solutions, which provides confidence to our customers that our solutions are the safe choice for them.”
 
Competitors in an already competitive market, Verint and NICE have stared across the court room aisle before.
 
In total, there are four patent lawsuits between Verint and Nice, a series of litigations begun by Nice in 2004, according to Verint. Since the beginning of this year, three of the lawsuits have gone to trial – and Verint has prevailed in all three, company officials say. Two of these lawsuits were filed by Nice, with Nice asserting six patents in total covering mostly older recording technology, according to Verint. Nice failed to carry its burden in both cases, Verint said.
 
NICE officials say they have the broadest portfolio of granted patents in the industry.
 
In a statement issued through the company’s Web site, NICE President Shlomo Shamir said, “Our innovative and market leading products are protected by the most extensive portfolio of intellectual property. We intend to continue to seek enforcement of these patents.
 
“In addition, we believe that Verint’s patents asserted against NICE are invalid and we intend to continue seeking invalidation of these patents,” he added.
 
According to Peter Fante, chief legal officer of Verint Systems, the judge’s non-infringement findings raise questions about the value of Nice’s patent.
 
Fante said that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has ordered re-examinations of a number of Nice patents, including patents at issue in suit. Verint officials say they expect the federal agency to narrow or invalidate a number of Nice patents through re-examination proceedings.
 
NICE officials say they’re now expecting a trial date for a pending claim of infringement by Verint’s recording products of five of NICE’s recording patents. The company says it intends to continue and pursue seeking permanent injunction against Verint’s recording products as well as damages that can reach up to $100 million.
 
Michael Dinan is a TMCNet Editor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
 
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