Friday, January 04, 2008

Digg sued for patent infringement

Digg and several other companies have been sued for patent infringement in Marshall Texas by Beneficial Innovations (i.e., Sheldon Goldberg). There have actually been two lawsuits. In the first one, filed in June and amended later, Beneficial sued 9 companies including Digg and CNet, alleging that they infringed US Patents 6,712,702 and 6,183,366, which cover playing games over a network.

In the second suit, filed in late December, Beneficial accused 8 more companies including Google and Yahoo of infringement. In both suits, the plaintif claimed infringements somewhere on the defendants’ web sites, but didn’t go into detail about exactly where and how the infringements occurred. All they provided were the home page URLs for the companies in question.

In July, Digg filed for an extension to answer the suit, which was granted. In a response filed on the last day of the extension, Digg’s lawyers wrote, in part:

Digg has not and does not infringe (either literally or by the doctrine of equivalents), induce infringement, or contribute to the infringement of any valid and enforceable claim of the ’702 or ’366 Patents.

One or more of the claims of the ’702 and ’366 Patents are invalid for failure to meet one or more of the conditions of Patentability set forth in 35 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.

On information and belief, the ’702 and ’366 Patents are unenforceable due to an unreasonable and unexplained delay in prosecution.

Digg counterclaimed and asked the court to declare not only that Digg did not infringe upon the two patents, but also that the patents themselves are invalid. Beneficial replied in October that (surprise) it didn’t agree. The cases are still pending.

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