Postal and messaging equipment maker Pitney Bowes Inc., Stamford, CT, has sued Internet postage service firm Stamps.com Inc., Santa Monica, CA, charging infringement of four shipping patents.
In the suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Texas, Pitney Bowes said the shipping patents are used in a variety of Stamps.com's shipping and logistics systems in its iShip product line, covering key processes for shipping and tracking packages and mail. Stamps.com's iShip products were introduced this summer.
Michael Melton, Pitney Bowes deputy general counsel, said Pitney Bowes has “a portfolio of about 50 patents in the shipping field, covering technical aspects, but the particular four that we filed suit on deal with electronic data interchange in shipping, tracking and rate information calculation, technology for accessing data such as rate information when a customer is shipping multiple packages using multiple carriers, and storing data pertaining to the shipping of the parcels and the carriers.”
Melton added, “We have attempted to reach a negotiated settlement with Stamps.com to license the use of Pitney Bowes' patented inventions in their iShip product line. … In the absence of such an agreement, however, we have an obligation to take the necessary steps to protect our shareholders' technology investments.”
Seth Oster, vice president of corporate communications at Stamps.com, said, “We believe this is yet another example of Pitney Bowes' ongoing effort to bring baseless litigation against Stamps.com in order to stifle the development and introduction of innovative and competitive technologies. Stamps.com intends to vigorously defend itself against this lawsuit.”
In June, Pitney Bowes filed suit against Stamps.com in U.S. District Court in Delaware. That complaint charged Stamps.com with infringement of Pitney Bowes' patents related to postage application systems and electronic indicia. Pitney Bowes is trying to reach a settlement with Stamps.com on that litigation.
“We are in the discovery phase of litigation, and we are always open to attempt to negotiate a settlement at any time,” Melton said.
This claim from Pitney Bowes came on the heels of a similar complaint that it filed in Delaware in June against E-Stamp Corp., San Mateo, CA, alleging infringement of seven of Pitney Bowes' patents. That suit is continuing.