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Company suing e-comm businesses for patent infringement
Companies offer to "license" patents to do e-comm for $5,000 per company.
stlouislouis




msg:341009
 2:22 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

More of a troubling trend. Sounds like a shakedown operation
to me. A SoCal company suing out of state e-commerce companies
and offering to "license" their patent to them so they can
continue to do e-commerce for $5,000. A bunch of defendants are
joining forces to fight this, based on the article in infoworld.com.

What will it take -- and how -- to fix the US Patent Office? The whole
area of patents for software, business methods and even
obvious stuff is beyond pathetic.

Slashdot article and discussion:

[slashdot.org...]

Informationweek.com article above story references:

[informationweek.com...]

On the second page of the informationweek.com article, a URL
is given for a site where folks are joining together to
fight this company wanting to "license" their patent to
do e-commerce to small to mid size companies:

[youmaybenext.com...]

Sadly, I wonder if the solution for most small businesses
will be to incorporate their e-commerce business
in some non US country that gives no heed to garbage like
this, and have everything running on servers in some foreign
datacenter....sad....anybody done this?

Louis

 

physics




msg:341010
 5:09 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe this post should be in another forum... Professional Webmaster Business Issues?

This is a very active topic on the RedHat Interchange users list [icdevgroup.org] right now. There are discussions about teaming up (possibly with youmaybenext.com) in court to stop this company before this whole situation gets any more out of hand than it already is.

We should all be worried since this company likes to target small e-commerce companies, perhaps to build steam for larger suits against Amazon.com, etc.

Here is a link to the posts in the interchange mailing list archives on this topic [icdevgroup.org] (it will not be up to date right away).

Syren_Song




msg:341011
 3:28 pm on Nov 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just found out through a listserv that there are several lawsuits pending against a number of small businesses. It appears that a patent was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (US Patent No. 5,576,951) [patft.uspto.gov] back in 1994 by Lawrence Lockwood. Mr. Lockwood's company (can I mention the name here?) has recently filed several lawsuits, starting in April of this year and running through October 4, alleging that several small businesses in a number of states are in violation of US Patent Laws by conducting in e-commerce on their websites. Lockwood claims that he holds the patent on e-commerce.

The company that appears to be publicizing these lawsuits the most is a plumbing supply company. They have created a website with details [youmaybenext.com] on the various lawsuits pending, as well as info on the company that is filing the lawsuits. The website for the company is down. According to information I found through various searches, the website [panip.com] was taken down by the company so they would not be harrassed by angry business owners and other concerned individuals.

Slashdot has a thread on this topic [slashdot.org] which sheds a bit more light on the subject and its potential impact.

I'm just wondering if anyone on this forum (particularly the attorneys) have any additional information on this suit, its ramifications, whether it holds water, etc.

Anyone out there with legal training in the area of patent law?

Is this guy a nut case? Or does his case potentially have merit?

Dino_M




msg:341012
 3:42 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)
I've probably missed this thread, pls point me to it if I have.

I see that a company is sueing small American business's for using images to sell stuff. Some kind of breach of patent!

see this site to fight back! - http://www.youmaybenext.com

lazerzubb




msg:341013
 3:54 pm on Oct 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sometimes i wonder that the people at the patent office think with?

Crazy_Fool




msg:341014
 1:20 am on Oct 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

i sincerely hope nobody at the patent office thinks at all. i've patented thinking and they haven't applied for a license.

shady




msg:341015
 12:51 am on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

*** Excuse me for duplication! This has been moved ***

Do you use graphical and textural information on a screen for the purpose of making a sale?

Tut tut! You may be sued for infringing a patent!

Pangea Intellectual Properties (PANIP LLC) of San Diego are apparently sueing companies across the country for performing the above AND for automating financial transactions via a telephone line and video screen.

Should we be scared? ;)

See the following urls:

[informationweek.com...]
[youmaybenext.com...]

Syren_Song




msg:341016
 3:23 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Those are the same folks I was talking about, Shady. I just wasn't sure I could name the company. Obviously I could have.

I think the main concern isn't so much the sueing, as whether PanIP is going to be sucessful in any of their suits. Oh, and of course, whether any of us or our companies are going to be sued! The other concern is why the US Patent Office has taken this Lockwood guy seriously and if there's anything that can be done about it.

I'm starting to wonder if the folks who are currently being sued can get the courts to combine the suits and then they'd be able to combine their resources against PanIP.....

ancarett




msg:341017
 3:20 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was reading some details of the case over on Slashdot and on the youmaybenext site. It's pretty scary in its implications for any website that has monetary transactions. Apparently the original patent they're building off of was filed in 1994. Interestingly enough, the patent language also cuts out a certain section of the market by specifying the terminals used are CRT (i.e. not LCD).

It's worth following for sure. . . .

Syren_Song




msg:341018
 1:19 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I hadn't noticed the part about CRTs as opposed to LCDs. Does this mean that websites will be required to poll consumers to find out if their surfing via a laptop/flatscreen monitor or a regular (bulky) monitor? Hmmmm. Did you notice if anyone mentioned this on the youmaybenext website? I'm sure their lawyers would be interested in that implication. It could make for a good bargaining point in court.

Other than polling site visitors, there's no way to know what kind of screen they're using to view the site. Unless, of course, the folks responding to any kind of poll are answering questions truthfully, if at all.

As for the patent, looks like someone tried to challenge it in 1997 and it was denied in part, but was (unfortunately) upheld under appeal by the USPTO.

The other thing to note is that the youmaybenext site states they want to charge companies something more like $30,000, rather than the $5,000 mentioned earlier in this thread. Either way, it's insane.

I really think if the companies are all able to band together and combine their funds into some kind of a joint action, they can fight this and win. I certainly hope so.

It all reminds me of a scifi story I read once where a guy decides to patent the wheel. Rather crazy on the surface, but who knows what the courts will decide.

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