by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 17th 2008 12:55pm
Thanks to the whole slew of folks who sent this in: TechCrunch has the details on Channel Intelligence, a company that owns a ridiculously broad and obvious patent on creating a list from a database and is now suing a whole bunch of small websites that offer things like wishlists. Read through the claims of the patent and see if you can explain how a single one is possibly new or non-obvious to those in the space. As TechCrunch notes, the lawsuits are all targeted against smaller websites, rather than the big players like eBay or Amazon. There are a variety of reasons why this might be. Channel Intelligence may have approached those companies and actually received a token payout (cheaper than a lawsuit for those companies). Or, perhaps more likely, it's using these smaller lawsuits to bring in some additional cash and to establish the myth that this patent is valid. That was common a few years back, before people started suing everyone at once for patent infringement. Patent holders would mostly target a few small companies, who wouldn't be able to launch a strong legal defense -- use those "victories" to build up a warchest while also claiming that it showed how the patents are "valid."
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