Feeds

Texas patent holder sues Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft

And (yawn) AOL

Boost IT visibility and business value

A Texas company has sued AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, claiming that all four web giants have infringed its patent "for conducting business transactions over the Internet".

Performance Pricing Inc. filed suit last week in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, a popular place for patent infringement suits. The company insists that four of the biggest names on the net are stepping on its patent with their ad technologies, including Google AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and the Google-powered AOL Search Marketplace.

"Defendants have used, and continue to use, Plaintiff Performance Pricing's patented technology methods and systems that they make, use, sell, and offer to sell, without Plaintiff's permission," the suit reads. "Plaintiff seeks damages for patent infringement and an injunction preventing Defendants from making, using, selling, or offering to sell technology claimed by the patent without Plaintiff's permission."

Think that's dodgy English? Wait 'til you read the patent.

Dubbed "Systems and methods for transacting business over a global communications network such as the Internet," the patent describes a method "for conducting business transactions over the Internet, allowing buyers to reduce the price of the selected product/service based on the buyer's performance during a collateral activity."

Yes, this is a business process patent.

Paying the ultimate price

"Sellers offer the product/service within a specified price range, and buyers accept the offer, in exchange for the opportunity to close the transaction at the lowest price offered by achieving a high score during the collateral activity," the patent continues. "The ultimate price is within the agreed upon range, but is determined based upon the buyer's performance during the collateral activity."

The patent also says that this process can be applied all sorts of activities - both online and off - including video games, electronic board games, sports betting, and card games.

According to Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University law professor and tech law blogger, the suit resembles the sort of "lawsuits that we're concerned about when we worry about patents being used as a way of shaking down people for cash as opposed to advancing social interests".

Congress is considering a bill that would overhaul patent litigation, and both Google and Microsoft have lobbied in its favor. The bill would make things more difficult for plaintiffs like Performance Pricing - but it might undermine legitimate startups as well

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.