Touchy Fight Over Screen Protectors

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Aeveo, the dominant maker of touch-screen protectors, which defends its patents fiercely, is a patent infringer itself, its rival Racing Optics claims in court.
     California-based Aeveo has successfully sued several times to protect its Moshi iVisor touch-screen protector, but Las Vegas-based Racing Optics says the iVisor infringes on several of its patents.
     Aeveo “dominates” the U.S. market with the Moshi iVisor bubble-free screen protector, which accounts for a significant amount of Aeveo’s $146 million global touch-screen protector income, Racing Optics says in its Sept. 15 federal lawsuit.
     Represented by Snell & Wilmer and three other national law firms, Racing Optics claims Aeveo’s patented screen protector violates three of its own patents, all of them titled “Touch Screen Shield.”
     Brothers Bart and Steve Wilson founded Racing Optics in 1999, along with Steve’s son, Seth. Their first product was laminated, tear-off plastic windshield protectors for auto racing. The top layer could be torn off during a race so the next layer could provide a clear view. The company then branched out into lens protectors, for consumers, medicine and the military.
     Racing Optics claims that its May 14, 2010 patent application for a “Touch Screen Shield” for electronic displays improved upon conventional, adhesive screen protectors by using an “air bearing” to eliminate bubbles, dirt and other contaminants by spacing the protector away from the screen surface.
     Aeveo applied for a patent for its touch-screen protector in January 2011, learned of Racing Optics’ patent application and asked about it in 2012, Racing Optics says in the complaint.
     It claims that though Aeveo submitted its application eight months after Racing Optics did, Aeveo was awarded the patent in 2013 and “instituted a litigation campaign” to enforce it.
     Aeveo won a $1.4 million judgment and injunction in March this year against a Taiwanese tech company.
     Racing Optics claims it has its own patent for its bubble-free screen protector, but its manufacturer won’t produce it due to Aeveo’s aggressive litigation: 10 federal lawsuits, including seven in Nevada.
     It seeks damages for infringement on three patents, an accounting, royalties and an injunction.
     Gregory Brower, with Snell & Wilmer in Las Vegas, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Nor could Aeveo.

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