Feeds

Texas patent holder sues Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft

And (yawn) AOL

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.