Lodsys Unloads 078 Patent Lawsuit on Adult Companies, Others

MARSHALL, Texas—The patent is referred to simply as the '078 Patent, also called "Methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network." Lodsys, the marauding patent protector—aka troll—has filed a bevy of lawsuits alleging the infringement of '078 Patent by an updated list of companies, including for the first time, five adult ones.

One of six identical lawsuits filed May 10 by East Texas troller The Davis Group names five adult entertainment companies as defendants—GMCI Internet Operations Inc., Playboy Enterprises Inc., RK Netmedia Inc., Score Internet Group and Vouyer Media Inc.—and in the five page complaint names five specific websites operated by each—penthouse.com, playboy.com, realitykings.com, 18eighteen.com and voyeurmedia.com—as infringing  "at least claim 1 of the ‘078 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271."

The abstract of the patent reads, "In an exemplary system, information is received at a central location from different units of a commodity. The information is generated from two-way local interactions between users of the different units of the commodity and a user interface in the different units of the commodity. The interactions elicit from respective users their perceptions of the commodity."

If that is confusing for you, the voluminous description of the background of the "invention" reads, in part, "One of the core purposes of the invention is... the ability to learn interactively and iteratively from the users of products and information systems anywhere in the world while they are in use—without having to travel to their sites (or without having to bring them to a testing laboratory). Since this is a two-way link, it also offers the ability to respond meaningfully to customers and users based on worldwide, local, organizational or individual needs regardless of where they are located."

The patent includes a number of uses and dozens of subsidiary claims that allow it to cover a range of functions related to consumer interaction utilized by websites across a vast range of industries, as evidenced by the complete list of companies sued in this latest Lodsys blitzkrieg: Bank of America Corp., Epicor Software Corp., Hoovers Inc., Market America Inc., Network Solutions, Overstock.com Inc., Sleepy's, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., Becker Professional Development Corp., Cabela's Inc., Charming Shoppes Inc., HSN Inc., Nike Inc., The Men's Warehouse Inc., Tivo Inc., Foster and Smith Inc., Recreational Equipment Inc., Walgreen Co., Rosetta Stone Inc., Dell Inc., AVG Technologies USA Inc., GFI Software Inc., Kaspersky Lab Inc., Raxco Software Inc., Symantec Corp., Webroot Software Inc., GMCI Internet Operations Inc., Playboy Enterprises Inc., RK Netmedia Inc., Score Internet Group and Vouyer Media Inc.

As AVN has previously reported, the patent litigation battlefield is being joined by tech giants as well as the usual troll suspects.