Good Technology Files Lawsuits Against MDM Players MobileIron and AirWatch - Let the Fun Begin!

By Tony Rizzo November 15, 2012

Good Technology, a pioneer in mobile e-mail founded in 1996, and much more recently a vendor that has expanded into secure enterprise mobility, announced that it has filed two separate patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against mobile device management (MDM) vendors, MobileIron and AirWatch. Good Technology hasn’t been in the courts for some time, but is certainly no stranger to mobile patent conflicts.

When Good was an independent and privately held vendor (before being acquired by Motorola in November 2006), it was embroiled in various patent suits with Research in Motion (where it didn’t fare all that well). Visto, a Good competitor before it acquired Good from Motorola, (in a very interesting deal where a close reading of Motorola’s subsequent financial quarterly disclosures suggested – though we don’t claim this to be the case - that Motorola actually paid Visto to take Good off its hands), was also known for doing battle with Microsoft and RIM on patent issues. Visto fared well – it ultimately collected licensing fees from Microsoft and eventually won a substantial $267.5 million from RIM.

Image via Shutterstock

So it is quite interesting to see Good now reappear to add its name to the current crop of mobile patent wars players. The lawsuit against MobileIron, according to Good, also includes “Lanham Act and related claims alleging MobileIron engaged in a marketing campaign based on falsehoods and misleading claims about Good and its product offerings.”

The patents Good is asserting in each of the lawsuits include:

  • United States Patent No. 6,151,606 issued for an invention entitled "System and Method for Using a Workspace Data Manager to Access, Manipulate and Synchronize Network Data."
  • United States Patent No. 8,012,219 issued for an invention entitled “System and Method for Preventing Access to Data on a Compromised Remote Device.”
  • United States Patent No. 7,970,386 issued for an invention entitled “System and Method for Monitoring and Maintaining a Wireless Device.”
  • United States Patent No. 7,702,322 issued for an invention entitled “Method and System for Distributing and Updating Software in Wireless Devices.”

The combined Good and Visto has a fairly substantial patent portfolio of over 75 patents. This IP includes innovations in the area of mobile security and management, and a number of them are “early, highly-cited, foundational patents” according to Good.  The patents cited above cover core technology first developed in the late 1990s that enable users to securely access e-mail and other business data while mobile. 

King Lee, Good’s CEO says that, “Good has pioneered the technology and products critical to the backbone and safety of most mobile devices, and these lawsuits are about two blatant infringers of our technology – MobileIron and AirWatch. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars researching, developing, and marketing our solutions. Thousands of organizations worldwide, including half of the Fortune 100, trust us to safely, efficiently and reliably scale their mobile enterprises, and we intend to vigorously defend our intellectual property rights around the world.”

It’s hard to tell if that is merely good pre-trial bluster from King or if there is much for MobileIron and AirWatch to be concerned about here. We’ll add this to our list of much-watch lawsuits and see how the pre-trial goes once it wends its way into an actual courtroom. We haven’t spoken with MobileIron or AirWatch yet, but we’re fairly certain about what they are going to say – something along the lines of baseless assertions and competitive distractions.

Welcome to the mobile litigation club one and all.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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