Baron Services Seeks $75,000 Damages

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: Video weather specialist Baron Services has filed patent infringement actions against Media Weather Innovations, LLC, in the U.S. District Court of Northern Alabama. Baron claims MWI’s WeatherCall alert system infringes on its own forecasting technology.

Baron offers real-time, locational, advanced warnings of severe weather via its SAF-T-Net alert service. The service identifies areas at risk from threatening weather conditions--schools, homes, businesses--and delivers the information to subscribers. The system had been developed over a decade, based on a patent filed by Baron in 2002: “System and Methods for Distributing Real-Time Site Specific Weather Information.” Baron claims WeatherCall has been infringing on the patent and has inflicted damages “in excess of $75,000.”

Media Weather Innovations is based in Parker, Colo. It offers WeatherCall in a variety of configurations, including cell phone alerts for three phone numbers and three e-mail addresses for $9.95 a year. KUSA-TV in Denver teamed up with MWI two years ago for an alert service, according to the Denver Business Journal.

No principals of MWI are named in the lawsuit nor listed on MWI’s website. Baron was founded in 1988 by Bob Baron, a former TV meteorologist, who is now president and CEO of the company.

“We have filed a lawsuit because we believe that a company is infringing our patent. So, we sought the court’s protection of our property. As the case goes forward, we look forward to the opportunity to prove the facts we have alleged.”

Baron has been on the cutting edge of TV weather technology for years. Baron’s VIPIR Display with gesture and voice recognition won a TVB Pick of Show at NAB 2004. Baron’s 3D Omni weather graphic system won a TV TechnologySTAR Award at the trade show in 2008. Baron’s systems were installed at WFTV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., in 2006, making it the first station in the country with a hi-def weather center. Baron also helped install the first Dual Polarization Doppler radar system in 2006.

Baron most recently made news in the trades when Ardell Hill, a veteran engineer with Media General, joined the company as president of broadcast operations.

Baron is requesting that Judge Inge P. Johnson find that MWI is infringing on its patent, declare it unlawful and enjoin the company from doing so going forward. Baron is asking for damages “adequate to compensate [it] for the infringement compalined of, but in no even less than MWI’s diverted sales or MWI’s profits,” plus interest, court costs, and attorney fees.

~ Deborah D. McAdams