“There’s this attachment people have to books that we were trying to tap into,” Patrick Buckley said. “The iPad cases that other companies were creating were really utilitarian in nature.” So, in 2010, DODOcase was born and skyrocketed across the marketplace. It is truly hard to believe, considering in January 2010 Patrick’s company didn’t even exist. Yet, since their strategic launch, coinciding with Apple’s debut of the much anticipated iPad, DODOcase has generated over $1 million in revenue and today is on track to do over $5 million in sales. DODOcase, the brainchild of Patrick Buckley and Craig Dalton, set the market on fire with this inventive yet simple product that helps millions of iPad users around the world. The product is a simple handmade iPad case that protects but looks stylish.
The DODOcase was so successful the New York Times said, “This gives the iPad the look and feel of a luxury, hardcover notebook.” Even President Barack Obama endorsed the and used it on his PC tablet. All this marketplace attention, strong and savvy innovation along with the explosion of their product within the marketplace brought major attention from other companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon— to generate profit.
And this is where things start to unravel for Patrick and DODOcase.
He wrote to tell his story, “My IPR story is this… Merchsource (MS), owners of the Sharper Image brand, and backed by AEA investors, a $15B private equity group, approached my small company to license our VR patents in 2016. 1.5 years into the contract, after their products were selling well, they decided it would be cheaper to bully us by using IPR’s than to honor the licensing agreement. MS filed 3 IPRs against my patents and began a war of attrition designed to bleed our small company dry financially. Though we eventually got the Federal Circuit to force MS to withdraw these petitions in the 12th hour based on the venue clause of our contract, only weeks before the PTAB was going to issue their final decision, the expense (6 figure$), time (~2 years), and uncertainty of the IPR process forced me to sell my patents to a law firm before we could prevail. MS’s war of attrition through the use of the PTAB still cost me my patents even though the patents are still valid.
After hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation and attorney fees, things finally went in Dodocase’s favor.
In April 2019, the Federal Circuit found the clause pertaining to the forum selection in the licensing agreement was enforceable and did limit MerchSource’s ability to file an AIA challenge because all of those PTAB challenges are held in Washington D.C., a completely different local and court forum.