Monthly Archives: September 2003

Chamberlain Group vs. Skylink Technologies

Thanks to Andrew Sitzer for forwarding me this:

A US Federal Judge has rejected a claim under the DMCA to outlaw a competing garage door opener. Judge Pallmeyer ruled against Chamberlain Group’s argument that Skylink’s universal garage door opener was an illegal circumvention device, stating that a homeowner has a legitimate expectation that she will be able to open the garage door if her Chamberlain transmitter is missing or malfunctions. The Court noted amici briefs filed by CCIA and Consumers Union, which pointed out the stifling effect the DMCA has on innovation and competition under Chamberlain’s theory. The Court’s Order, which denied part of Chamberlain Group’s motion for Summary Judgment, is available at:
http://www.ipjustice.org/skylink/082903_ORDER.pdf

Further case documents are available at:
http://www.ipjustice.org/skylink.shtml

This is very good news. This case and Lexmark vs. Static Control are the most blatant examples of companies invoking the DMCA to stifle legitimate competition.

From the Court’s Order:

During oral arguments on this motion, Plaintiff acknowledged that under its interpretation of DMCA, a garage owner violates the Act if he or she loses the transmitter that came with its Chamberlain rolling code GDO, but manages to operate the opener by somehow circumventing the rolling code. This court agrees with Defendant that the DMCA does not require such a conclusion.

What if I lose my DVD CCA sanctioned player, but manage to access the content by somehow circumventing CSS? :D