Project Paperless, LLC claims if you use a network scanner you’re infringing on their patents. But are these patents valid? We don’t believe they have ever been subject to re-examination or court tested.
For a patent to be valid it must be both novel and non-obvious. Novelty means the invention must not be in use (in the US), or described in any publication anywhere. The term prior art means any publicly available information describing the invention in such things as prior patents, books, articles, technical journals that existed prior to the patent. If prior art is found after an invention has been patented, the Patent Office can invalidate the patent.
According to US Patent #5,764,866, filed three years prior to Project Paperless LLC’s earliest patent, Yoshio Maniwa describes “A device for scanning an image to create image data to be transmitted to a network to which the device is connected. The scanning device includes an operation panel for selecting each of settings of scan conditions, a scan unit for scanning at least one image to create image data according to the settings of scan conditions, a memory unit for storing the image data, and a network-interface unit for sending the image data stored in the memory unit to the network.” SOUNDS LIKE A NETWORK SCANNER TO US!
Read more about novelty, non-obviousness, and prior art here.