After almost three years of legal battle, the US Patent and Trademark Office has decided that all of the claims made by Ultra Products, now a part of the "Streak Products" division of Systemax, over the breach of its modular power supply patent were unfounded, enabling Antec, Enermax, FSP, Mushkin, Seasonic, Tagan and others to build such PSUs without having to pay Ultra a licensing fee.
The US Patent and Trademark Office decided the patent was unrightfully owned after witnessing various other examples of the technology being used in prior PSUs.
This included a series of HP power supply units, which came with detachable hot-pug interfaces and were designed to be deployed inside workstations.
"As a part of its decision, the USPTO accepted 37 of 49 arguments advanced by Antec, based on numerous prior art references, ranging from technical specifications to Internet product reviews," Daniel S. Mount, counsel for the Alliance.
In April of 2008, Ultra has filed suit against nearly every modular power supply manufacturer that was selling in the US in an attempt to lay claim to the MPSU market.
Back then the company said that all the listed manufacturers have known of their infringement and asked the court for triple damages to be awarded, the maximum allowable under the US patent law.
However, what the company failed to realize back them was that HP filed a similar patent in April 2000, the company detailing a “computer with modular power supply assembly in separate bay.”
As a result, Antec has formed an Alliance comprised of all the companies that were sued by Ultra and asked for the re-examination of the patent as a critical part of its multi-tiered litigation strategy, which concluded with today's announcement.
Streak Products has 30 days to appeal the verdict, but, until now, such an appeal hasn't been filed. (via JonnyGuru)