Jay Walker Continues Quest To Sue The Internet Into Oblivion With Patents

from the tarnished-legacy dept

Jay Walker created Priceline. That was a good idea, and he showed that he could execute on that. But since then, apparently the only thing he's wanted to execute on is destroying his legacy by becoming a full on patent troll, and suing as many big companies as possible. Last year, we noted that Walker claimed he had effectively invented "friending" (Patent: 5,884,27 for "establishing and maintaining user-controlled anonymous communications.") and sued Facebook. That same article talked about him suing the Powerball lottery (Patent: 7,740,537 on "applying lottery multipliers").

Earlier this year, he apparently decided to accelerate that campaign, by suing basically every successful internet company. All in all, he sued 100 different companies, including Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Facebook (again), WalMart, GroupOn, Apple and Google.

But why stop there? On October 18th, Walker got a new patent: 8,041,711, for a "Method and system for providing a link in an electronic file being presented to a user," and before the day was over, he had sued Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo and Vibrant Media over that patent. He got the lawsuits in so fast that the USPTO website apparently hadn't even listed his new patent at the time (it has now).

With those last lawsuits, Walker claimed that the various companies wouldn't have existed without his inventions ("A number of great companies can trace their genesis to technology that was first developed at Walker Digital in the mid-to-late 1990s.") Once again, he doesn't seem to shy away from ridiculous hyperbole, claiming that his invention is why those companies have targeted advertising:
Those "revolutionary technologies were a direct result of investments made by Walker Digital," according to the complaints.
Let's put this plainly: that's bullshit. Nothing that any of those companies did was a result of any investment by Walker Digital. Walker is relying on a popular myth, that patent infringement lawsuits are about someone "copying" an idea from someone else. The reality (and studies have shown this repeatedly) is that most patent infringement lawsuits have nothing to do with one company copying someone else or copying a patent. In this case, it's pretty damn clear that these companies most certainly did not build their own targeted advertisement program because of anything that Walker did. Claiming so is flat out laughable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Patents

    Since the U.S. is now allowing patents for things that already exist, I'd like to patent the following:
    Heating food
    Clothing
    Shelter
    Living indoors
    Vowels
    Written languages
    Spoken Languages
    And, Patents

    Now, in order to avoid a lawsuit - take your clothing off and go outside.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

    I have some, easy and practical: patents go to "natural" persons only, non-transferrable, and require a working physical model to rule out software, methods, DNA, and so on.

    Mike has basically nothing but a blog.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Richard (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      I have some, easy and practical: patents go to "natural" persons only, non-transferrable, and require a working physical model to rule out software, methods, DNA, and so on.

      Oddly, given your second paragraph, I think Mike would agree with most of that...

       

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    •  
      icon
      crade (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      Software is still a working physical model, it's just really small.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      Yup.

      1. Abolish the patent system. Or ...

      2. Remove the commercial monopolies from it. Yes, that amounts to compulsory licensing to the whole world for free. Inventors who are unhappy with freely disclosing their inventions, should keep them secret. Independent invention works just fine. Let somebody else have the credit. The "Progress of Science and the useful Arts" will be better than ever.

      With no possibility of a patent infringement lawsuit, the patent bar would be unable to impose economic costs on the rest of society. That would be a very good thing for the rest of us.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 6:04am

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      Mike has basically a blog.

      You have...

      Wait, just what the fuck DO you have?

       

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    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2011 @ 3:11am

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.



      Right. because we've never suggested practical solutions.

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110819/14021115603/so-how-do-we-fix-patent-system.s html

       

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    •  
      icon
      Ronald J Riley (profile), Oct 30th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

      Re: Got any solutions? Yelling "the patent system is broke!" isn't working.

      "Mike has basically nothing but a blog."

      And perhaps big corporate money for delivering PR (propaganda).

      Mike Masnick likes to talk about journalism. Journalists and PR flacks for the most part have the same training and yet there is no love loss between the two groups. Journalists on balance make the world a better place, while PR hacks are in my opinion ethically flawed on a fundamental level.

      The primary difference between journalists and PR hacks is that journalists believe in exposing the truth while PR hacks use the same skills to give cover to those of dubious repute.

      Inventors conceive of new useful things. Mike has claimed to be an inventor but has not been able to provide any proof.

      In a twisted sense his claim has some truth, he invents propaganda. This article is a good example of Mike Masnick's inventiveness.

      Look at the difference between what Jay Walker has accomplished and what Mike Masnick represents. Is it any wonder that Masnick is green with envy?

      Ronald J. Riley,

      President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

      Other Affiliations:
      Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
      Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
      President - Alliance for American Innovation
      Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
      Washington, DC
      Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

       

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  •  
    icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Wow.

    .

    Mike said "bullshit".


    Mike's pissed.


    Go Mike. Go.

    .

     

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    •  
      icon
      Ronald J Riley (profile), Oct 30th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

      BS Experts / Re: Wow.

      "Mike said "bullshit".

      "Mike's pissed."

      Actually, I think that Mike is an expert at BSing and that when he starts talking about BS we should all pay attention.

      After all, being an expert at BS is an essential skill for spinning PR and pushing big business propaganda.

      Ronald J. Riley,

      President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

      Other Affiliations:
      Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
      Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
      President - Alliance for American Innovation
      Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
      Washington, DC
      Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 9:44pm

        Re: BS Experts / Re: Wow.

        ehh, You should see the "Patent your invention" scammers who call themselves experts. What a sleazy lot they are.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Ronald J Riley (profile), Nov 1st, 2011 @ 5:18am

          Re: Re: BS Experts / Re: Wow.

          We have been addressing invention promotion fraud for well over a decade. There are several hundred web pages exposing various questionable companies and the people behind those companies at www.InventorEd.org/caution.

          Historically, invention promoters fleece inventors for typically $10,000 to $50,000. The highest I have seen was about $300,000. The industry is raking in about $500 million a year.

          There are legitimate invention promotion companies but they do not advertise. Those who do advertise usually are at best worthless and at worst outright frauds.

          Up until about five years ago the biggest risk of becoming entangled with a promote was loss of money. But today there is a very slick promoter who appears to filing patents on other people's inventions. That promoter appears to be closely associated with the USPTO and David Kappos.

          Aspiring inventors should never disclose their inventions to others until they have at least a provisional patent application filed. Even then, disclosure is risky. There are far more hucksters and asset thieves then there are inventors and most inventors have minimal business experience, making them easy prey.

          Our nonprofit, InventorEd.org provides extensive resources for aspiring inventors, including a list server where inventors can get one on one help. The list server is Inventors-L @ InvEd.org (Remove extra spaces in address). To join send a message to that address which includes your name, address, phone number and a brief description of what your interests are. Do not disclose your invention unless you have an issued patent.

          Ronald J. Riley,

          President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

          Other Affiliations:
          Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
          Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
          President - Alliance for American Innovation
          Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
          Washington, DC
          Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    bjupton (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    It sure is bullshit.

    "On October 18th, Walker got a new patent: 8,041,711, for a "Method and system for providing a link in an electronic file being presented to a user,"

    From the 90s? New? Bullshit.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Wow.

    Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple.
    --David Keuck

    Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.
    --Anonymous

    When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak - probably both.
    --Anonymous

    A vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not, so men are proved by their speeches whether they be wise or not.
    --Demosthenes

    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    --Eric Hoffer

    A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
    --Confucius.

    Since this is about patents:
    Just shoot yourself, fucking moron.
    --angry dude

     

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  •  
    identicon
    DCL, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    He might as well quit trying...

    ... E-PARASITES is going to destroy the internet before he gets any money out of it anyway.

    ...wait... if he is the new owner of the internet then he gets the responsibility of all the E-PARASITES rules sent to him first. That leaves the rest of us to create a new better internet.

     

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    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    that has got to be one of the most painful patents i have ever looked at in my life.

    and its odd that it contains language which indicates that the practice was already in use by others at the time it was filed making it decidedly NOT new.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    The real parasites want to destroy the little guy making it impossible for anyone but the very rich to be able to operate inside America.

     

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  •  
    icon
    A Guy (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

    At what point does patent litigation start to violate the the first amendment?

    If, and that's a strong if, claims like this are upheld by current statute could the overall design of a patent system that forces onerous penalties for using methods of communication over other peoples infrastructure be "abridging the freedom of speech?"

    IANAL, but if there is one reading, does anyone know if there is precedent on this?

     

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  •  
    icon
    Conscientiouspirate (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 10:15pm

    "Establishing and maintaining user-controlled anonymous communications"? Did this Jay Walker guy possibly invent talking to other people?

    Seems I might need a counterclaim to cover myself. Perhaps I should patent "A method for a pedestrian to cross a roadway containing vehicles with the right of way."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    FlushedAway, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 11:50pm

    A system or method for cleaning waste residue from one's self

    AKA wiping your butt.
    AKA bullshit.

     

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  •  
    icon
    martyburns (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Jay Walker - funny! Does this not mean in the US what it means in the UK; someone who crosses the street without waiting for the green man or not on a crossing when on is near by?

     

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