Name Your Own Price On A Full Patent Troll

Jay Walker Continues Quest To Sue The Internet Into Oblivion With Patents

from the tarnished-legacy dept

Patents by Mike Masnick

Jay Walker created Priceline.  That was a good idea, and he showed that he could execute on that.  But since then, apparently the only thing he’s wanted to execute on is destroying his legacy by becoming a full on patent troll, and suing as many big companies as possible.  Last year, we noted that Walker claimed he had effectively invented “friending” (Patent: 5,884,27 for “establishing and maintaining user-controlled anonymous communications.”) and sued Facebook.  That same article talked about him suing the Powerball lottery (Patent: 7,740,537 on “applying lottery multipliers”).

Patentics - scientific method for patenting in...

Earlier this year, he apparently decided to accelerate that campaign, by suing basically every successful internet company.  All in all, he sued 100 different companies, including Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Facebook (again), WalMart, GroupOn, Apple and Google.

But why stop there?  On October 18th, Walker got a new patent: 8,041,711, for a “Method and system for providing a link in an electronic file being presented to a user,” and before the day was over, he had sued Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo and Vibrant Media over that patent.  He got the lawsuits in so fast that the USPTO website apparently hadn’t even listed his new patent at the time (it has now).

Official seal of the USPTO

With those last lawsuits, Walker claimed that the various companies wouldn’t have existed without his inventions (“A number of great companies can trace their genesis to technology that was first developed at Walker Digital in the mid-to-late 1990s.”)  Once again, he doesn’t seem to shy away from ridiculous hyperbole, claiming that his invention is why those companies have targeted advertising:

Those “revolutionary technologies … were a direct result of investments made by Walker Digital,” according to the complaints.

Let’s put this plainly: that’s bullshit.  Nothing that any of those companies did was a result of any investment by Walker Digital.  Walker is relying on a popular myth, that patent infringement lawsuits are about someone “copying” an idea from someone else.  The reality (and studies have shown this repeatedly) is that most patent infringement lawsuits have nothing to do with one company copying someone else or copying a patent.  In this case, it’s pretty damn clear that these companies most certainly did not build their own targeted advertisement program because of anything that Walker did.  Claiming so is flat out laughable.

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