Inventor Fights HP for Anti-Blink Patent

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Hewlett-Packard falsely claims ownership of a patent for an invention that eliminates “blink-related closed eyes,” a former employee claims in court.
     David Johnson had worked for HP for 21 years when he filed an “invention disclosure” for the technology, about 8 years ago.
     Johnson says he filed several invention disclosures during his two decades with the company, “not all of which related to plaintiff’s area of work or even defendant’s areas of business but which plaintiff was required to disclose pursuant to his employment agreement.” He says he filed the disclosure for his blink invention about 6 months before he left HP, which was in may 2005.
     The technology uses composite images to correct for blinking by replacing closed eyes with open eyes from a separate image of the same person, Johnson’s attorney Amy Anderson told Courthouse News in an email.
     Johnson filed a patent for the invention in 2006 and it was granted in 2010.
     Shortly thereafter, he says in the federal complaint, he tried to offer the patent for sale to the public through a broker, but HP contacted the broker and claimed it owned the patent, so the broker put the sale on hold.
     Johnson petitioned the Patent and Trademark Office in 2011 for sole reassignment of the patent, and it was granted to him, “specifically correcting ‘an unauthorized assignment'” of the patent to HP, according to the complaint.
     But HP continues to assert ownership of the patent and refuses to acknowledge Johnson’s right to it, though it can show no attempt to “use, sell or continue to develop the technology that is the subject matter of the patent,” Johnson says in the lawsuit.
     His attorney Anderson added: “HP has no rights to the patent since the invention was conceived on Mr. Johnson’s own time, without any of HP’s resources, and it does not remotely relate to any of the work Mr. Johnson did for HP.
     “Mr. Johnson has gone to lengths to avoid litigation and simply have HP provide written acknowledgment of Mr. Johnson’s rights so that title may be cleared in the eyes of the auction house and any potential buyers, but HP continues to claim ownership despite the fact that, to our knowledge, HP has not used the technology and has no intention of doing so.”
     HP could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
     Johnson seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, and punitive damages for intentional interference with contractual relations, and negligent and intentional interference with prospective economic relations.
     His attorney Anderson is with Aroplex of San Francisco.

%d bloggers like this: