TYLER, TX—Like desert varmints, patent trolls take to the verdant (if at times arid) lands of East Texas like ducks to water. The environment is advantageous for them, if not for others. As this roundup of recent patent infringement cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas makes clear, filing new cases in the area is a going, and ongoing, concern. The May 2 listing out of Tyler is for a series of flings brought by a company called Tejas Research, which filed seven identical cases over the course of three days in early May, suing a handful of adult companies along with some mainstream ones, as well.
The allegation is that the defendants have infringed and continue to infringe U.S. Patent No. 6,006,231, issued Dec. 21, 1999, titled "File Format for an Image Including Multiple Versions of an Image, and Related System and Method."
The patent's abstract reads:
"A system for retrieving an image from a network comprises:(1) a server application; (2) a plurality of image files, each storing an image in a plurality of different versions, and connected to the server application; (3) a client application which enables a user to select and retrieve a desired version of a desired image; and (4) a communication application providing a communication link between the client and server applications wherein, in use, the user can select a desired image and a desired version of that desired image for retrieval and display. The versions of the image are stored such that when a low resolution version of the image has been obtained, a high resolution version can be obtained simply by downloading the difference between the two versions of the image."
Tejas does not appear to have filed any other patent infringement lawsuits but for the recent batch. The complete list of defendants sued by Tejas over the File Format patent are Vivid Entertainment Group, Vivid Entertainment LLC, Playboy Enterprises Inc., Playboy.com Inc., Walgreens.com Inc., Walgreen Co., iStockPhoto LP, Getty Images Inc., LFP Internet Group LLC, The Neiman-Marcus Group Inc., Neiman Marcus Inc., Academy Ltd. d/b/a Academy Sports + Outdoors d/b/a Academy Sports and Outdoors and Academy.com L.L.C.
And then of course there was the other recent filing out of East Taxes targeting adult and mainstream companies with a patent issued long ago for functions that are questionably patentable. One wonders if Congress will ever take notice of—or rather, do something about—patent abuse.
A sample copy of the Tejas complaint is available here.
The Tejas patent can be accessed here.