by Steven D. Jones – The Wall Street Journal
A day after buying digital signature company EchoSign, Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) has been sued in federal court in Texas for patent infringement connected with the acquisition.
RPost Holdings Inc., of Plano, Texas, on Tuesday sued Adobe and EchoSign, alleging violation of five separate patents for verifying and transmitting digital signatures and messages. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas seeks an injunction preventing use of the patents and unspecified damages.
An Adobe spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit, saying the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
On Monday, Adobe, San Jose, Calif., bought EchoSign and its digital verification technology to add to its document exchange software. Adding digital signatures to its SendNow file transfer utility and its FormsCentral service creates a suite of cloud-based applications for document preparation and management.
Adobe ended development of its own digital signature technology called eSign and will deploy the EchoSign technology instead. In response to questions about eSign on Monday, an Adobe spokeswoman said, “With the acquisition of EchoSign, users of Adobe eSign beta will benefit from a much richer and complete product offering for their electronic signature needs.”
Since the beginning of the year, RPost Holdings and its Rmail Ltd. subsidiary have filed suit against eight companies alleging patent infringement.
In a phone interview, Chief Executive Zafar Khan said privately held RPost Holdings has been providing digital signature technology to law firms and insurers for a decade and only this year began defending its patents in U.S. District Court.
Evaluating competitors and their technology is time-consuming, said Khan, and the company has been filing suit only after examining competitors’ technology carefully.
Khan said Adobe’s acquisition of EchoSign wasn’t a factor in the decision to file suit.”Had Adobe not acquired EchoSign, we would have filed suit against EchoSign anyway,” he said.
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