Priceline’s Parent Firm Sues Apple, Google, Facebook, Sony over Patents

Posted by at 10:22 am on April 12, 2011

The core company behind Priceline, Walker Digital, today sued over 100 companies in 15 patent lawsuits as a bid to profit from their work. The suit accuses industry veterans like Apple, Microsoft, and Sony, as well as relative newcomers like Facebook, Google, and Groupon, of copying various unnamed technologies. It claimed that many of these companies had shot down “meaningful negotiations” to pay royalties and forced Walker Digital to take action.

E-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart were also named in the suit.

The company claimed that few inventors like itself could afford to level such complaints. It also claimed that it didn’t believe “less innovation or more litigation” helped anyone despite its own far-reaching case. The company insisted it was surprised when some of those it has targeted had sued it preemptively after being asked to license patents.

The company claims to have built nearly all of its business on patent licensing and to have earned $200 million in total from the business. Although all its patents were developed in-house and not bought from elsewhere, Walker Digital is traditional patent troll behavior and typically licenses out its developments rather than using them for actual products.

The company didn’t say what kind of damages it hoped to get from the lawsuit, but most such lawsuits seek an injunction that would ban sites and devices that use the alleged patents. A patent troll lawsuit usually leans on the assumption that most companies are willing to settle for a royalty or a lump sum rather than risk their businesses on a possible loss in court.

None of the involved companies have commented on the lawsuit.

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