Saturday, 23 April 2011

Walker Digital Patent Infringement Lawsuits Target Tech Majors

It is the most recent patent infringement lawsuit in a highly litigious industry. Walker Digital, the company behind Priceline.com, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a number of companies, including Apple, Google, and Amazon alleging infringement on key aspects of its patents.

Walker Digital has filed a total of 15 lawsuits in the U.S. federal court in Delaware. According to the lawsuits, companies like Facebook are infringing patents owned by Walker Digital. The company alleges that these patents cover everything from e-commerce and online options to social networking communications.

According to Walker Digital, the great tech companies of today can trace their success to patents developed by Walker Digital during the mid-to-late 1990s. The company says it had no choice but to file lawsuits against these companies, because the companies had failed to establish a licensing system that could have avoided litigation. Earlier this year, Digital had sued gaming company Zynga for infringing on a database driven online distributed tournament system. The company has also in the past sued Facebook for using a feature that it claims infringed on a Walker Digital patent for establishing and maintaining user control.

San Diego intellectual property litigation lawyers have expected that the explosion in patent infringement litigation in the tech industry would lead to more companies grabbing patent portfolios in order to boost their intellectual property holdings. That seems to be happening now. Last week, Google announced that it had bid $900 million to acquire a Nortel portfolio of 6000 patents. The company has reason to think big. Over the past year alone, its Android operating system-based Smartphone has been the target of 37 patent infringement lawsuits. In another patent portfolio grab, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC and Novell’s parent company, Attachmate agreed to split up Novell’s 882 patents, boosting the patent portfolio of these companies.

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