NPEs (non-practicing entities) now lurk around every technological corner. Analysts need to factor in NPE lawsuits as risks to new technology company growth. The latest events claim patent ownership on features now common to consumers.
As reported in GIGAOM, last week Data Carriers LLC claimed in a Delaware court that Yelp, LinkedIn, Target, Wal-Mart, Netflix infringed US Patent 5,388,198 for the auto-complete feature (when a user enters a few letters and the rest of the word appears). Previously the company similarly charged Apple and Nokia.
In a complaint filed in Las Vegas, Silver State Intellectual Technologies asked for an injunction and damages against Foursquare related to U.S .Patent 7475057 (“System and method for user navigation”) and U.S. Patent 7343165 (“GPS Publication Application Server”). Essentially the patents describe the process of pushing information from a remote server to a user based on the location of that user, a GPS function found now in many mobile programs.