|Patent Infringement Questions|
BabyAge.com was served with a patent infringement lawsuit that poses a potential threat to nearly every business, large and small, in the United States. Along with eight other unrelated companies scattered throughout the country, BabyAge.com has been accused of infringing upon patents currently held by a company called Eon Net of the Cayman Islands.
BabyAge is a 6 year old e-retailer of infant and juvenile products, currently located in Northeast PA. Originally founded in Newark NJ, we have been trying to effectively grow our ecommerce business through traditional boot strapping and good old fashioned hard work. Our business and futures are seriously in jeopardy because of the following egregious patent litigation.
I am writing to make everyone aware that this should be a real concern of yours if you are in the e-commerce world, Once you read the claim charts, you will realize that this patent covers technology and business processes that have been in use since the inception of database technology and SMGL.
According to Eon Net, its patents apply to any web site that accepts customer information into a database from any type of form (html). What it really comes down to, in fact, is that Eon Net believes that virtually every e-commerce web site in the country is infringing up its patents. Right now, Eon Net is that one company that thinks it has the sole right to determine exactly who uses e-commerce, and to decide exactly how much that usage will cost.
Claim Chart for Claim 1 of 6,683,697 Patent
A multimode information processing system for inputting information from a document or file on a computer into at least one application program according to transmission format instructions, and to operate in at least one of:
On babyage.com website information (such as customer contact information) is entered into an HTML form that is displayed by a browser and the HTML form file is transmitted via HTTP to a back-end process (application) running on a web server.
a. a definition mode wherein content instructions, at least one of which is not a location of said information derived from a pre-scanned image of a blank form, are used to define input information from within said document or file required by said at least one application program; and
HTML form uses tags and attributes to define the information entered into the form as required by the application
b. an extraction mode to parse at least a portion of said document or file to automatically extract at least one field of information required by said at least one application program and to transfer said at least one field of information to said at least one application program.
HTML form file is received by web server and is processed (for example, by a CGI script) to extract the information entered into the HTML form as required by the application
Pending Cases that we have found:
Home Center (http://www.HomeCenter.com) (settled in excess of 50K)
BlackHound (http://BlackHoundny.com/) (defaulted on filings, and was forced to license technology 25K)
Red Envelope, Inc.,
Random House, Inc.,
ING Bank, Inc.
Beach Camera (http://www.beachcamera.com/) (settled above 100K)
We have unsuccessfully tried to get our local congressmen and Senators to help us in this matter. We are running out of options, and unfurtantly don't have the money (100's of thousands of dollars)to fight it in court, If anyone in this group has any idea's or can provide any type of help I'd greatly appriciate if you drop me a note.
i think taking on ing may be their mistake ..you have to hope that ing gets into court before the rest of you ..
Looking at the actual patent application, it would appear that this was to cover hard copy documents.
|An information processing methodology gives rise to an application program interface which includes an automated digitizing unit, such as a scanner, which inputs information from a diversity of hard copy documents and stores information from the hard copy documents into a memory as stored document information. Portions of the stored document information are selected in accordance with content instructions which designate portions of the stored document information required by a particular application program. The selected stored document information is then placed into the transmission format required by a particular application program in accordance with transmission format instructions. After the information has been transmission formatted, the information is transmitted to the application program. In one operational mode, the interface interactively prompts the user to identify, on a display, portions of the hard copy documents containing information used in application programs or for storage. |
I wish I could say it was hard to believe that they would expand upon the original claims (as I read them), but hey, this is life on the web.
Leosghost may have hit the nail on the head.
Hm. In that case it would be a good plan for yourselves or your lawyers to play the 'further and better particulars' one.
Whatever they send you, find a bit of it and ask them to clarify it. It'll keep them tied up for years at very low cost - while someone else deals with them.
It works surprisingly often and if your lawyer won't go along with it, get a new one.
From here [sablaw.com]
|Eon-Net claims that the ‘697 patent covers ING’s Internet-based application that collects and extracts customer information. |
Seems to be a bit more then an ecommerce web form.
This patent will eventually be ruled as invalid, as have the patent claims over the GIF, JPEG and hyperlink have, but it will take someone to stand up to them.
In 2002, a San Diego based company began systematically suing online retailers for violating its patent claim that any web site that "contains a combination of text and graphics" and "is capable of obtaining credit card or other financial information from the user" is in violation of its patents. They initially sued eleven online merchants, demanding $30,000 in licensing fees, all of whom rolled over and ponied up the money. Then they went after fifty more companies.
The merchants they targeted had at least two traits in common: (1) they were relatively small companies -- large enough to have the capital to pay their demands, but too small to afford a sustained legal battle; and (2) none of them were located anywhere near the company's San Diego headquarters, requiring them to travel to Southern California to fight their claims in Federal Court.
One of the companies decide to fight back, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office eventually issued a rejection of claims in the patent it had originally granted to the company.
your best bet is to form a front with other companies, otherwise is not worth fighting it. if 10 or so get together, it's much easier to fund the challenge. They're counting on you to settle, instead of spending $millions in defending it.
Oooops, I missed the fact that they want ING to settle. You can hope that ING takes on them, but then, they might just pay the $50k since it is just a rounding error for them
I don't think the other banks would allow ING to settle ..they need their good will to continue to move money ..and the other banks could be hit by this one if ING rolled over ..
Having read the patent in question it really makes one ask who in the hell works in the patent office and approves such obvious attemps at catch all ...
One of these days someone is gonna let the genetic boys and girls patent arse scratching and nose picking or even copulation ..spurious patent applications shouldn't get past the first round filing cabinet!