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.

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Companies: amazon, google, microsoft, vibrant media, walker digital, yahoo

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Comments on “Jay Walker Continues Quest To Sue The Internet Into Oblivion With Patents”

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46 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

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 – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org

Other Affiliations:
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://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.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Re: BS Experts / 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 – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org

Other Affiliations:
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://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.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: BS Experts / 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 http://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 – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org

Other Affiliations:
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

A Guy (profile) says:

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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