Lawsuit Claims Miller High Life Loyalty Program Infringes Patent
from the it's-miller-time dept
Loyalty programs are a pretty basic concept and have jumped to the online world ages ago as an obvious progression of such programs. But, of course, where “obvious” and “internet” meet, there are almost always patents to get in the way. Mike Wokasch alerts us to the news that a company called Carlson Marketing Worldwide is suing beermaker MillerCoors over its “Miller High Life Extras Loyalty Program.” The patent in question, 6,039,244 is incredibly short… and broad, and covers a form of creating a database for a loyalty program. It’s only three claims long, with the first claim being the only one that matters. Read that claim and explain how this patent was ever found to be legit.
Anyway, of course, Carlson is very upset about all of this, though I find it interesting that the URL that the lawsuit itself points to for the Miller loyalty program appears to be run by a company called Eprize, who seems to whitelabel loyalty programs for lots of big name brands. So perhaps there’s more to it than the lawsuit notes, but when Carlson claims in its filing that Miller “owns, operates and maintains” the program, I’m not sure that’s really true. Either way, it’s yet another sad example of patent bullying.