Acacia Redux? Adult Firms Among Those Sued by Patent Holder

MARSHALL, Texas—It’s like a porn horror movie, part deux. As the credits role, signaling the victorious end of an epic battle by a handful of heroic adult companies against a patent-enforcing firm hell-bent on wreaking havoc in the industry, another monster company leaps onto the screen wielding a lawsuit dripping bloody allegations of widespread infringement of its own video-related patent. Unfortunately, it’s not a sequel or a porn parody, but real life. And it’s not even in 3D! (The previous monster was, of course, Acacia Media Technologies.)

This time, it's Marshall, Texas-based InMotion Imagery Technologies, which filed a lawsuit March 10 in federal court, alleging patent infringement by a slew of mainstream and adult industry companies, including Penthouse Digital Media Productions, Vivid Entertainment Group, Adam & Eve, Bang Productions, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, The Weinstein Group and New Line Home Entertainment, among others.

The patent in question, No. 6,525,219, was filed in 1995 and issued Feb. 25, 2003 by the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) for a picture-based video indexing system. It is defined in the patent application as “a video indexing system [that] uses pictures representative of a recorded video program to assist a user in determining the contents of a recorded medium without having to view the program itself. The pictures preferably represent segments of the program which are spaced apart in time, enabling a relatively small number of such pictures to characterize a length program, and are presented in separate windows on the screen of the same device used to display the video program. The pictures may include still or moving imagery. A viewer optionally may select a particular picture with a pointing device, to commence replay of the recorded program from that period of the program, or to recall stored audio information so as to assist in identifying the selection. The picture information maybe stored on the same medium as that used to record the video program, or a different medium may be used.”

The complaint alleges that each of the defendants has infringed and continues to infringe one or more of the patent claims “by making, using, providing, offering to sell, and selling (directly and through intermediaries) … videos indexed with images that are displayed in windows wherein at least one window displays motion imagery.” It sounds as if the patent, if found valid, would also cover every single tube site in existence, as well as mobile applications in which still images commence the playing videos when clicked.

Of the defendants, only Vivid has thus far filed an application with the court asking for more time in which to answer the complaint, though oddly, the application was filed by the InMotion attorney, William E. Davis of Longview, Texas-based The Davis Firm. Vivid’s new deadline to file its reply is June 11.

InMotion is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, treble damages beginning from when the defendants became aware of the infringement until the filing of the complaint, costs and expenses, interest, and attorneys' fees. A jury trial has been requested.

Calls for comment have been made to both industry attorneys and some of the defendants.

The InMotion Complaint can be read here.