Today in Delaware, Walker Digital LLC filed multiple suits against top companies for the violation of intellectual property rights. In total, 15 suits were filed against over 100 companies including giants like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay and Wal-Mart. Walker Digital says that company efforts failed to obtain commercial licenses.
Walker Digital is an information technology company most widely known as the people behind priceline.com, launched in 1998. The company is active in development for the retail, gaming, vending and security industries among others and holds over 450 international and U.S. patents, with hundreds pending.
In a press release, Walker Digital’s CEO Jon Ellenthal said, “Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred. We have reached out to a wide range of companies that are engaging in commercial activities that clearly depend on inventions created and owned by Walker Digital. Unfortunately, many of these companies have refused to engage in meaningful negotiations that acknowledge the market value they derive from the use of our property.”
And ties the suit into the (way) larger picture…
“Patent protection is a key part of our business model. It provides us with a period of exclusive ownership during which we can recoup our investment in innovation and generate the profits necessary to continue our invention efforts. This model dates back to our nation’s founding when encouraging and protecting innovation was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers recognized the value of a strong patent system as an important element in securing America’s economic advancement.”
As PCMag points out, this isn’t Walker Digital’s first rodeo. They previously sued Facebook over the technology of “friending” and has sued Microsoft, Dell and HP in the past.
Chairman Jay Walker says, “Our goals are two-fold. Obviously we want to realize a fair return on the use of our property. Who would want any less? But we also hope this effort will contribute to the process of moving the asset class of patents and Intellectual Property out of the stone age of litigation and into an efficient market which, in the end, would benefit America and its economy.”
The press release is vague regarding specific patent violations and does not mention compensation of damages.