Horsie to pointy guy 6
Re:Wanted Smartboard & pieces !!!
« on: July 27, 2005, 04:46PM »
You may want to take a look at this thread:
Title: The patent that killed Tasc
PS: (long!) this is one post I found on the newsgroup archives from Steven Schwartz from 1996 with some more info on the lawsuit:
2. Steven Schwartz Jun 5 1996, 3:00 am show options
From: LGTY...@prodigy.com (Steven Schwartz) - Find messages by this author
Subject: Re: SmartBoard patent infringement lawsuit?
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cracr...@ix.netcom.com (Stuart Cracraft) wrote:
>I heard that there is a patent infringement lawsuit now
>going on regarding the SmartBoard -- the separate wooden(like)
>chessboard that attaches to a PC's parallel interface and permits
>PC chess programs to play out on a 3D physical board.
>Is SmartBoard sales in the U.S. held up? Is there a danger
>of distributing or buying it?
You heard correctly. Brehn Corporation in New Jersey
has a patent (#5,129,654) for piece recognition which was
awarded in 1992. The president of Brehn showed the technology
to the president of TASC after signing a non-disclosure
agreement, and not long after that, the TASC Smartboard was
manufactured. Since the Smartboard incorporates piece
recognition, and since Brehn Corporation felt that this
particular piece recognition was as described in its patent,
a suit was filed in federal court in New Jersey by Brehn.
TASC denies and has denied any infringement and says that the
technology for piece recognition in its boards is different
from the patent that was filed by Brehn Corporation and that
the Brehn technology is "not workable." TASC also indicated that
it was working on piece recognition as early as 1989.
Brehn Corporation decided to file suit in New Jersey and named
TASC, ICD, and the U.S. Chess Federation as defendants. Since the
law states that the manufacturer and those who sell infringing
product are liable (whether they are aware of infringement or not),
and since ICD and the Chess Federation were the easiest method of
getting at TASC (in The Netherlands), with the apologies of Brehn,
we were dragged into the argument.
Brehn stated from the beginning that ICD and the Federation were really
not guilty of anything but being in the middle of what essentially
was a dispute between TASC and Brehn. But as luck (and our justice
system) would have it, we and the Chess Federation were forced to
pay our lawyers to defend us. Brehn felt that pressure from ICD and
the Chess Federation on TASC would bring TASC to the bargaining table
here in the U.S., and save Brehn the expense of going after TASC
ICD could have simply not responded to the suit and saved lawyer's
fees, and allowed a judgment to be placed against it by the court,
but that is an open ended situation because only one side of the
story is told with no opportunity to defend oneself. So, having
been placed between a rock (Brehn) and a hard place (TASC), we
chose to have our lawyers defend.
We (ICD) chose first to fight jurisdiction and won. As a result,
the case was moved from New Jersey to the Southern District Federal
Court in Manhattan. The judge in the Southern District assigned a
mediator to listen to all sides in the dispute, and this meeting took
place this past Friday.
The mediator was excellent but unable to bring Brehn and TASC
together. Each side insisting that it was right. Then the issue
was directed at ICD and the U.S. Chess Federation. Since it was
agreed that we were just "pawns" in a larger struggle and could
not possibly know who was right and who was wrong... for the past
1 1/2 years since the suit was filed, I had dozens of conversations
with both the president of Brehn and the president of TASC and
each insisted on every occasion that the other party was incorrect..
we were given the option of continuing to pay our attorneys
many thousands of dollars to defend ourselves, or just simply
settling the case and getting out.
ICD and U.S. Chess offered to pay Brehn a fee to release us from
the case, and we agreed not to sell the Smartboard after July 1st.
The fee, ironically enough, was less than 25% of what our attorneys
had charged us up to that point!
To this day, I have not the slightest notion of whether an
infringement has taken place. Having been in the chess computer
business for almost 19 years now, I know that we sold a unit
with piece recognition back in the mid 80s called the Mephisto
Bavaria and nobody sued us. I know that Saitek holds a patent on
piece recognition and they did not sue us, and I know that Ken
Thompson developed a piece recognition system back in the late
70s-early 80s and he did not sue us, but I have no clue as
to whether the TASC Smartboard infringes upon Brehn's July 14,
The Brehn vs. TASC patent infringement case continues (but
now, thank goodness, without ICD) and none of TASC's other
products are affected in any way, and customers who own
Smartboards will be supported as always, but after July
1st there will be no more Smartboards sold by ICD.
Regards, Steve (ICD/Your Move Chess & Games)
The whole newsgroup thread is here:
Map of chess computer friends: http://www.frappr.com/chesscomputers
I love Boardnation!
Wanted Smartboard & pieces !!!
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2005, 02:27PM »
Thx Ismenio for your help !!!
Hi forum members ... need help !!! Here's the thing ...
In December 2003 I sent my Smartboard and pieces to TASC in Rotterdam as it wasn't working at that time.
I never heard back from them then transitioned into the States, Michigan in Rochester for a couple of years ... anyway ... surely I never got the board nor a reply back. Thx to Ismenio now I know why (who were those suckers who sued TASC anyway ....?). Shooot !!!
Ismenio told me that some of you guys might have a spare to sell.
Pls. in case you can help, send me an Email to "Oliver.Soltau@web.de" or call me under my cell 001-586-596-9458.
Thx a lot for your help ... Ciao ... Oli ... !!!