Autocomplete is pretty ubiquitous in the tech space by now. If a site has search, you can bet that they have an autocomplete feature of some sort powering the front end. That feature just got a dozen or so companies sued by the latest patent troll to climb out from underneath its bridge.
The patent troll of the week is Data Carriers LLC, a shell company that is the epitome of the patent troll. They're suing numerous companies over US Patent 5,388,198 for "Proactive presentation of automating features to a computer user." To them, that translates to autocomplete and companies like Apple, Nokia and more are the targets of their frivolous litigation.
Gigaom is reporting that Data Carriers has expanded their patent lawsuit to even more companies now. Companies including Netflix, LinkedIn, Target, Wal-Mart and others are now included in the latest round of litigation from this particularly nasty troll.
This latest lawsuit just further confirms the need for patent reform. It's a problem when software like autocomplete is used as fuel in patent lawsuits. The entire Internet relies on these features, and further innovations are impeded by companies looking for a quick buck. It becomes even more complicated when large corporations create these shell companies to handle patent lawsuits all in the name of slowing innovation and draining money from those who are actually making the Internet better.
Fortunately, the lawsuit brought by Data Carriers doesn't seem to hold much merit. You can see for yourself in the court document below.