updated 08:45 am EDT, Tue June 14, 2011
NYT and OpinionLab want Lodsys patents invalidated
Lodsys faced the consequences of its actions again Monday after the New York Times Company and OpinionLab both sued Lodsys (below) to invalidate its patents. Similar to the lawsuit from ForeSee, both of the plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment that would at least absolve them of guilt and also nullify the patents themselves. OpinionLab's complaint alleged that Lodsys was violating Illinois fair competition laws and was committing tortious interference by scaring investors away.
The two companies noted that they or their customers had been given Lodsys' well-known patent infringement claim letters, arguing that the New York Times Company's ad click-through system and OpinionLabs' surveys were violating patents. OpinionLab said it took action in part because Lodsys wouldn't explain in greater detail what it had supposedly done wrong. Some of its customers, such as Adidas, had already been sued.
Either lawsuit called out Lodsys as a patent troll and noted that, without attempts to collect on patents, it received "no benefits" from the patents. Those leveled against OpinionLab were conveniently due to expire on August 6, 2012, leading the plaintiff to suspect that Lodsys was simply making a gamble on patents it was about to lose.
"Because Lodsys seeks to maximize its investment in the purchase of these patents and due to their imminent expiration, Lodsys has engaged in a calculated, widespread, and improper course of conduct in attempting to extract as much revenueas possible from purported 'infringers,' even though Lodsys could not possibly believe, in good faith, that the allegations of infringement were proper or justified," OpinionLab wrote.
If successful, the lawsuits would at least have Lodsys cover the court costs. OpinionLab would also have an injunction banning Lodsys from ever trying to collect on the patents or interfering in its business. The complaint would leave room for more damages if the court saw fit.
As of the new lawsuits, Lodsys now faced more lawsuits against it than those it was trying to perpetuate. Its attempt to claim ownership of in-app purchase technology has also seen Apple move to intervene in Lodsys' lawsuit against developers. Any one success would likely undermine Lodsys' core arguments and force it into a truce as it would lose much of its leverage in other cases. [via Florian Mueller]