PCWorld: Adobe Gets Bonus with EchoSign–a Patent Lawsuit

July 19, 2011 / in News / by RPost

PCWorld: Adobe Gets Bonus with EchoSign–a Patent Lawsuitby Tony Bradley – PC World

Adobe moved to bring digital document signing into the mainstream with the purchase of EchoSign. The EchoSign acquisition comes with some additional baggage as well, though, in the form of a patent infringement lawsuit from RPost.

RPost filed suit against Adobe and EchoSign claiming that the digital signature technologies used by EchoSign infringe on five patents held by RPost.

That RPost was already actively engaged in reviewing EchoSign services in the context of the RPost patent portfolio. “We were in the final stages of filing last week, and just finalized the details and filed today.”

Zafar Khan, CEO of RPost, explains that even just typing your name on a document can have the legal force of a handwritten signature as long as you can be verified as the author that typed it. Without that proof, though, the ‘signature’ is legally worthless.

Khan says, “The key element in any system of electronic signature is creating a legally meaningful audit trail of every step of the signature process and associating that audit trail with particular electronic document content. When part of that audit trail involves email, it is on our turf: we pioneered the technology for proof of email and document delivery, including recording recipient reply or signoff on the message content, and have the patents to prove it.”

The news shouldn’t be a shock to Adobe anyway. RPost filed a similar suit earlier this month against digital signature rival DocuSign, and Adobe should have seen the writing on the wall. That case only alleges infringement of four patents, but in both cases RPost has asked the court to issue an injunction against the continued sale of the alleged infringing services until a determination is reached.

Adobe declined to respond with any additional details, citing a policy against commenting on pending litigation.