Patent owner censured by US antitrust watchdog

Eileen McDermott, New York


The US antitrust authorities have taken unprecedented action to stop a company from enforcing its Ethernet technology patents in a way deemed to be anticompetitive

In an unusually broad exercise of power by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), patent enforcement company Negotiated Data Solutions (N-Data) has been ordered to stop allegedly anticompetitive enforcement of its patents covering the communications technology.

The patents, US patent numbers 5,617,418 and 5,687,174, are related to “NWay” Ethernet technology, which was adopted as an industry standard by the standard-setting organization, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in 1994.

According to the FTC, N-Data’s predecessor company, National Semiconductor Corporation, made a commitment...


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