July 29, 2013, 6:02 PM

In a web translation patent battle, the jury sides with TransPerfect

The case involved technology to translate web sites into multiple languages.

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In a patent lawsuit related to the demand among online retailers to translate web content into multiple languages, a federal jury last week sided with TransPerfect in its case against rival MotionPoint Corp. MotionPoint says it plans to appeal.

The case involves the technology and method each company uses to translate web sites into multiple languages, including the use of a web spider to crawl a site’s content as part of a translation project. According to TransPerfect, the dispute started in December 2009 when lawyers for MotionPoint sent a letter challenging the validity of TransPerfect’s patent for its OneLink translation product. The lawyers contended that it infringed MotionPoint’s patent. In addition, TransPerfect says MotionPoint attempted to undermine its position in the market in 2010 by making similar arguments in marketing campaigns.

TransPerfect filed a lawsuit against MotionPoint in June 2010 in the U.S. District Court in northern California. It sought a declaratory judgment that would settle its legal standing regarding its patent in light of MotionPoint’s claims.

The jury last week announced several findings favoring TransPerfect, in effect reversing the claims MotionPoint made. The jury found:

● MotionPoint did not prove that TransPerfect’s patent was invalid;

● MotionPoint had infringed TransPerfect’s patent;

● TransPerfect had not infringed on MotionPoint’s patent;

● TransPerfect had proven that MotionPoint’s patent was invalid.

“It’s a victory for free competition,” says TransPerfect co-CEO Phil Shawe, who co-founded TransPerfect in 1992 with co-CEO Liz Elting. The company has been offering web content translation services since 1995.

"We didn't start this fight,” Shawe adds, “but we simply couldn't take a passive stance any longer while knowing that there was nothing new about MotionPoint's patents, technology or service offerings.”

MotionPoint, which declined to be interviewed, said in a statement that it “intends to appeal the jury’s verdict and will pursue all other avenues to protect its intellectual property.”

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