Court Dumps Patent Lawsuit Against Tons Of Online Retailers
from the one-down,-many-to-go... dept
Back in 2010, we wrote about how some ancient patents from OpenMarket (now held by a company called Soverain) for an “online shopping cart” were suddenly being used against a ton of online retailers, including NewEgg, QVC, HSN, Amway, JC Penny, Victoria’s Secret and more. So when we saw the news that a case concerning the use of an ecommerce patent against a bunch of online retailers, including NewEgg, Amazon, eBay, Dell, Office Depot, Costco and Target had been dismissed and the patent declared invalid, at first I thought it must be the same case. Silly me. Of course there are lots of patent lawsuits against ecommerce providers. And this one was different, involving a company called Kelora Systems, who holds a patent (6,275,821) on “executing a guided parametric search.”
The judge, however, found that the retailers didn’t infringe, that the claims weren’t valid and said that the defendants can recover their legal fees. What’s incredible about this case is that when it was originally filed it was against 16 defendants and then more were added a few months later, but as you look down the docket, you also see plenty of orders granting stipulations for dismissal, which are really indications that many of the defendants chose not to fight, but rather to pay up. I bet those companies, including 1-800-Flowers, Briggs & Stratton, PC Connection, CircuitCity, Officemax and others are kind of regretting that decision right now. Kelora, of course, has been hyping up the fact that it’s also signed other “licensing” deals with companies like K-Swiss, Footlocker and Sur La Table without having to first sue them.
Of course, I wonder how many such companies will be willing to take out a license after seeing this ruling…