Priceline founder takes aim at Apple, more than 100 others in patent suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple joins other major technology companies including Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook as defendants in a new lawsuit from Walker Digital, which founded the travel site Priceline.com.



Walker Digital filed 15 lawsuits on Tuesday, targeting more than 100 companies, including eBay, Walmart, Sony and Groupon, in addition to Apple. The defendants have been accused of stealing inventions owned by Walker Digital, a research and development laboratory for technology patents.



The company was founded in 1994, and it said in a statement that its inventions are covered by more than 400 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents. Walker Digital claims that its inventions generate direct licensing revenue that exceeds $200 million.



"Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred," Walker Digital Chief Executive Jon Ellenthal said in a statement. "We have reached out to a wide range of companies that are engaging in commercial activities that clearly depend on inventions created and owned by Walker Digital. Unfortunately, many of these companies have refused to engage in meaningful negotiations that acknowledge the market value they derive from the use of our property."



The greatest success for privately held Walker Digital has been Priceline.com, which it launched in 1998. The travel service went public in 1999, and the next year Jay S. Walker, founder of Walker Digital, left Priceline to focus on new ventures.



Walker Digital has accused Apple and dozens of other technology companies of illegally using inventions it claims to have created in the mid-to-late 1990s. The complaint was filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Delaware.



"We are disappointed that after reaching out to so many companies in an effort to secure reasonable licenses, we were consistently told that without litigation our requests would not be taken seriously," Ellenthal said. "Few inventors can bear the costs of patent lawsuits and most large companies know they can take advantage of smaller inventors who cannot afford the millions of dollars that just one patent lawsuit can cost.



"At Walker Digital, we don?t believe that less innovation or more litigation serves anyone?s long-term interests. However, the unwillingness of those companies using our property to enter into joint commercial agreements has forced us to take an action that we had hoped to avoid."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    I'm sure this'll go far
  • Reply 2 of 30
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,246member
    Priceline, a company that advertises itself with the fraudulent assertion that you can name your price and get it. I'm surprised that it hasn't been brought to its knees by a class-action lawsuit.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Yep. I guess it is time to try to cash out on some of those patents before they expire. Sue everyone and hope something stick.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    This article says nothing, other than a suit has been filed.



    For what? What invention(s) have been allegedly stolen?
  • Reply 5 of 30
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,246member
    It would have been nice to have been given at least one example of just what specific technology patent Apple is supposedly infringing upon.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    I guess his other ventures didn't work out so well.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    And no mention of what the suit has been filed for?



    In any case, if there are so many high-profile targets, it's probably bollocks.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... The company was founded in 1994, ... The greatest success for privately held Walker Digital has been Priceline.com, which it launched in 1998. ... in 1999, ... Jay S. Walker, founder of Walker Digital, left Priceline to focus on new ventures. ..



    Translation: The guy who founded the company had no problem with the use of the technology, but the guy that bought the company from him, bought it primarily for the potential law suit which he has been hammering on ever since. He can't admit he's wrong, cause then he'd look like a chump for buying the company.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    We need examples please.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    They are hiring Denny Crane and the price line "Negotiator" to litigate ... go dog!
  • Reply 11 of 30
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member
    It is pretty much impossible to have any idea of the merits of these suits without any details. However, it's generally a pretty safe assumption that any patents held by an IP holding company are likely for things that should never have been granted patents -- vague ideas, "business process" BS, and stuff like that.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,611member
    Enough already with this stupidity called "software patents"! They are basically mere analogues of physical actions into their computerized/online analogues.



    One-click ordering, for example is the internet version of "Just ring me and tell me what you want and I'll take care of everything since I have your billing information in my customer files."



    If Congress can't get rid of software patents they should at least write into law something that says: Any software patent application that is a mere computer analogue of long-standing manual or physical procedures is not patentable.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    What an idiot.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 15 of 30
    moijkmoijk Posts: 6member
    This guy is in fact the typical patent troll:



    http://paidcontent.org/article/419-p...-for-a-living/
  • Reply 16 of 30
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
  • Reply 17 of 30
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    Quote:

    "Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred," Walker Digital Chief Executive Jon Ellenthal said in a statement.



    Of course. You were expecting the defendants to drive the Brinks truck straight to your offices upon receiving the lawsuits, thus bypassing the needs to file said lawsuits. How dare they not comply!
  • Reply 18 of 30
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    This is AI. If you want details you gotta go to placed like The Register:



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04...and_30_others/



    They note this is about patent #7,525,955, covering an "Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability." It was filed in March 2005 and granted in April 2009.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/52084696/U...t-No-7-525-955



    The article says:



    I don't see what's special about that patent.



    That suit was filed in Texas (not the Eastern District troll haven though), the AI article is talking about a suit supposedly filed in Delaware.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    If Congress can't get rid of software patents they should at least write into law something that says: Any software patent application that is a mere computer analogue of long-standing manual or physical procedures is not patentable.



    The Patent Office can and has basically gotten rid of "idea only" patents for all but very very detailed ideas. But the laws won't let them just mass strike down a ton of granted patents. They have to show that the patent wasn't valid under the rules of the time. A way to do that is to go to court and have the 'offending' party show that they had no knowledge of the other side's work at the time and/or they have their own existing work that they developed the new thing from (rather than just copied it from the accuser).



    On the plus side as well, the Courts are siding less and less with the notion of granting huge damage awards to folks that knew they were being breached upon for years and let it slide until suddenly there was big money being made. And they are making the accusing companies show extensive proof of attempts to contact and attempts to negotiate fair licensing terms etc.



    In the end, this case could wash out with one or more parties settling for a much smaller payment, no statement of guilt etc just to shut it up. Which will of course never be reported that way because slanting the articles to make companies like Apple, Google etc look like they admitted guilt or wanted to settle because they knew they were but didn't want it on the books is much better hit fodder
  • Reply 20 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    Enough already with this stupidity called "software patents"! They are basically mere analogues of physical actions into their computerized/online analogues.



    One-click ordering, for example is the internet version of "Just ring me and tell me what you want and I'll take care of everything since I have your billing information in my customer files."



    If Congress can't get rid of software patents they should at least write into law something that says: Any software patent application that is a mere computer analogue of long-standing manual or physical procedures is not patentable.



    The simplest fix would require that the source code be disclosed in a software patent. Just as a drawing is required for a mechanical invention, you should have to include the 'mechanics' of HOW you implemented your invention. If someone else implements the functionality in a different way, no violation. As it is, a lot of these software patents are equivalent to a patent for a four-wheeled conveyance, including horse-drawn carriages, just about every automobile ever made, and skateboards.
Sign In or Register to comment.