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Last Wednesday a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an earlier decision by the Court of Federal Claims, holding that the United States Postal Service and IBM did not infringe a shipping patent held by Uship Intellectual Properties LLC.
In the earlier case, Uship complained that the U.S. Postal Service infringed its U.S. Patent Number 5,831,220 for an “Automated package shipping machine.” The ’220 patent covers a system by which all of the shipping steps, from calculating postage to printing a label and accepting payment, are automated and carried out by the machine. IBM was later added as a third-party defendant when Uship learned that it created the machines for USPS.
Uship, headquartered in Austin, Texas, was founded in 2003 by Matt Chasen who came up with the idea when he was planning a move from Seattle to Austin. Matt had extra space in his rented van and wondered how many other trucks crossed the country partially empty. So, he set out to find a way to make it more affordable to coordinate shipping with others.
The patent specifically refers to a kiosk-type of machine on which a user can weigh a package, figure the postage and print a label.
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(Intellectual Property News.com)