November 30, 2022

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Stupid Patent of the Month: Suggesting Reading Material

On the internet businesses—like firms everywhere—are complete of suggestions. If you order a burger, you could possibly want fries with that. If you examine Well-known Science, you might like reading through Well known Mechanics. Individuals types of strategies are a really old section of commerce, and no one would severely imagine it’s a patentable technologies.

Besides, seemingly, for Pink River Innovations LLC, a patent troll that thinks its patents cover the notion of suggesting what individuals should read upcoming. Purple River filed a half-dozen lawsuits in East Texas all over 2015 and 2016. Some of these lawsuits were being towards stores like residence improvement chain Menards, clothier Zumiez, and cookie retailer Ms. Fields. Those people stores all obtained sued because they have research bars on their web sites.

In some lawsuits, Pink River claimed the use of a look for bar infringed US Patent No. 7,958,138. For instance, in a lawsuit from Zumiez, Red River claimed [PDF] that “after a ask for for electronic text by the lookup box positioned at www.zumiez.com, the Zumiez system immediately identifies and graphically offers added reading through content that is related to a concept inside of the asked for digital textual content, as explained and claimed in the ’138 Patent.” In that circumstance, the “reading material” is text like product listings for jackets or skateboard decks.

In one more lawsuit, Crimson River asserted a connected patent, US Patent No. 7,526,477, which is our winner this month. The ’477 patent describes a program of electronic textual content exploring, in which the person is introduced with “related concepts” to the textual content they’re now looking at. The examples demonstrated in the patent screen a variety of stay index, demonstrated to the proper of a block of digital textual content. In a lawsuit versus Infolinks, Red River alleged [PDF] infringement due to the fact “after a ask for for digital textual content, the InText method quickly identifies and graphically offers extra looking through substance that is relevant to a idea in the requested digital text.”   

Suggesting and supplying looking through material is not an creation, but relatively an summary strategy. The final paragraph of the ’477 patent’s specification helps make it very clear that the claimed method could be practiced on just about any pc. Beneath the Supreme Court’s conclusion in Alice v. CLS Bank, an summary strategy does not come to be eligible for a patent merely for the reason that you propose executing it with a laptop or computer. But using the services of lawyers to make this argument is an highly-priced activity, and it can be daunting to do so in a faraway locale, like the East Texas district the place Red River has filed its lawsuits so much. That venue has traditionally captivated “patent troll” entities that see it as favorable to their cases.

The ’477 patent is yet another of the patents featured in Unified Patents’ prior artwork crowdsourcing project Patroll. If you know of any prior artwork for the ’477 patent, you can post it (in advance of April 30) to Unified Patents for a achievable $2,000 prize.

The excellent information for everyone currently being targeted by Red River nowadays is that it is not likely to be as easy to drag firms from all over the place into a court of their selection. The Supreme Court’s TC Heartland final decision, put together with a Federal Circuit circumstance termed In re Cray, signify that patent owners have to sue in a location in which defendants truly do organization.

It’s also a excellent instance of why price-shifting in patent situations, and upholding the situation law of the Alice conclusion, are so significant. Little providers working with primary web technologies shouldn’t have to go through a multi-million dollar jury demo to get a likelihood to establish that a patent like the ’477 is abstract and evident.