Oct 21, 2020

On June 29, 2020, a lawsuit was filed by Corotek Licensing LLP against HCL America Inc. with respect to patent infringement by the latter in a software product named HCL Sametime at the New York Southern District Court.

HCL Sametime is a software application that facilitates a virtual meeting between users. The product has been described as, "to provide highly-secure real-time communication through instant messaging, online meetings, audio and video — no matter where you are working; in the office or on the go." IBM formerly sold the product and then bought by HCL, and since 2019 it has been developed and sold under the HCL Technologies.

HCL America Inc. is a subsidiary unit of HCL Technologies (India). Corotek Licensing in its lawsuit has claimed that the company owns four patents in this regard and that the product OF HCL that is HCL Sametime has infringed the patent owned by Corotek Services. HCL’s services that are similar include, “capabilities of presence information, enterprise instant messaging, web conferencing, community collaboration, and telephone collaboration and integration”   

In the lawsuit, Corotek has included the following arguments.

  • Firstly, in relation to the patents owned by the company, the patents provide for enabling devices that are wireless to start internet connection in such a manner that it does not use the residential details of the user. 
  • The petitioners have requested a jury trial regarding the same and sought damages with respect to the software that was sold.
  • Of the multiple patents owned by the company, they are in relation to products that enable communication without wires and relating to connection over the internet or popularly called,” Voice Over Internet Protocol". There has been an allegation that HCL's product is in contravention of one of the multiple patents in this regard.

The petition Corotek Licensing LLP have said that the product HCL Sametime has caused them severe damages, a lot of confusion and unfair competition to them.

It is now impending on the defendant to prove that the HCL company’s product is not similar to that of the Corotek Services’ product. And also the company has to prove that the method used by them to enable connection without registering the residential address of the user is unlike that of the Corotek’s patent owned in this regard to avoid any penalty and prove their innocence in this regard.

Salman Waris, who is a partner of TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors and a member of  the legal team handling this intellectual property dispute stated that "The company has to prove that it has developed another method to enable a wireless device connection without using an operator's home location register.”

The case is currently ongoing. HCL has not responded to the suit yet. HCL America is due to respond to the patent infringement suit of the Corotek Services by the end of September 2020.