Feeds

Yahoo! sued in price comparison patent clash

Apple's Sherlock 2, others could be under threat too

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A New Zealand woman's lawsuit against Yahoo! for alleged patent infringement may have larger implications for the computer industry. The patent in question covers software which allows prices from different e-commerce Web sites to be pulled onto one location and compared -- something increasingly used on the Internet and is the basic idea behind Apple's MacOS-based Sherlock 2 search engine and AOL subsidiary PersonaLogic's automated buying guide technology. Yahoo! is using the technology without licence, the lawsuit claims. If the case is proved, it also raises the question of whether other companies are breaking the patent, including Apple. At the time of going to press, Apple was unable to state whether it held a licence agreement with St. Louis-based SBH -- the patent firm marketing Juliette Harrington's software. Equally, SBH was not able to provide a list of licencees. Yahoo! would not comment. A larger query remains over the patent, however, which would appear suitably vague and broad enough for companies to work unhindered within its confines. The patent's abstract states the software is: "A method of effecting commerce in a networked computer environment in a computerized system... A database of vendor product data and an associated database interface is established on a first computer. The interface allows remote access by one or more user(s). A local user interacts with the database by querying the database to specify a local users product/service specification." Sherlock allows Mac users to search multiple e-commerce sites simultaneously and produces a list of products and prices for easy, side-by-side comparison. That sounds remarkably like the kind of database Harrington's patent describes. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.