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Amazing inventions

A San Diego-based company has stepped up its legal offensive against small and medium-sized web businesses. Pangea Intellectual Properties LLC was created in March this year, and is using a patent granted on September 11 2001 to one Lawrence Lockwood to obtain damages from a number of websites.

The patent (No. 6,289,319), titled "Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System" is broad enough to cover almost every variety of e-commerce, and as well as ATM machines.

"Defendant has been inducing others to infringe the '319 patent by engaging in certain aspects of electronic commerce," according to its filings.

In 1994 Lockwood was granted a patent (No. 5,576,951) for an electronic airline reservation system, and unsuccessfully used it to obtain damages from SABRE. This time, he's targeting much smaller businesses. And lots of them.

The first batch of 11 recipients received claims for up to $30,000. Five more rounds have followed, each taking in ten defendants: you can see a list here on a site set up by one defendant to draw attention to the claims.

Tim Beere of DeBrand Fine Chocolates told us that only two names are listed on documents associated with PanIP, and who is funding the litigation remains a mystery. Neither PanIP nor its attorney, Kathleen Walker, had responded to our calls at time of filing this story.

In July we broke the story of how Forgent Networks was pursuing licensees over a JPEG patent. Fortunately, the PanIP issue has already gained some press - Information Week has a fine report that establishes that Lockwood has licensed his patents to PanIP, and lists other fatuous patents - but more wouldn't go amiss. ®

Related Link

You May Be Next - information on PanIP litigation

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Top three mobile application threats

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