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...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 24th, 2012 @ 1:37am

    If cost of losing < Amount you can extort = WIN!

    This is the new American Business model, you see it with patents and now copyrights.
    Intellectual Property is soooo important we give people control over ideas and don't require them to do anything with them.
    We let other dreamers stumble across a similar idea, built it into something, make some money then show up and demand our pound of flesh.
    So many patents are in the hands of NPE's now, how does this benefit society other than providing higher prices for consumers as the lawyers get their cut?
    There is such a thicket of overlapping concepts that no one can see if they are infringing on an issued patent easily, so they have to roll the dice and hope they reinvented the wheel in a new way to avoid having to pay off the troll under the bridge.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 3:46am

    Divine promises... I was there.

    Andrew "Flip" Filipowski and Bob Bernard - the two boy wonders behind Divine Interventions and Whittman-Hart Mk I - are laughing about this from wherever they are.

    Flip set Divine up with some promises from Bob. He got the legacy - stable money money making - part of M1: bodies, office space, and clients. Voila! Whittman-Hart rises from the ashes, for the most part.

    The March First bankruptcy trustees sell the rest to an outfit called SBI, which changed its name to avoid association with Darl Mc Bride of SCO UNIX nuisance lawsuit fame.

    So, which patent troll is behind this?

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 5:57am

    "executing a guided parametric search." Read the patent. Anyone who's ever worked with a data base has probably "violated" it. That this patent can exist is all the reason we need to destroy this beast.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    American innovation at work!
    And there can be no doubt that America is still the innovating-est country in the world---just look at how many patents our citizens are getting every year!

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2012 @ 6:54pm

    They sent multiple documents to our tiny ecom

    They sent multiple documents to our tiny ecomm business. Looked like they were suing us. But were not actually court documents and demanded $40,000 within 30 days. We threw the papers away.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 24th, 2012 @ 7:08pm

    Re: They sent multiple documents to our tiny ecom

    Just like how true copyright trolls work.

     

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


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