Yesterday Google Offers, Google's foray into the deals marketplace, went semi-live with its beta version. Currently, deals are not yet being offered through the program, but users are able to sign up for email alerts for when the service begins dispensing deals. The beta version is only available for 6 areas right now, including Portland, NYC and San Francisco.
Just hours after Google Offers Beta was announced, it was struck with a lawsuit late last night by Walker Digital. Walker Digital is a Delaware based information technology company most widely known as the people behind priceline.com. 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.
Walker Digital and its founder Jay Walker have routinely been cited as examples for why patent law and the methods for issuing patents need to be revised. Many believe that the company is the embodiment of a “patent troll” and that they simply exist to claim patents for mainstream, generic ideas so that they can sue large companies for patent infringement.
Earlier this month, Walker Digital filed a rash of suits against industry giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft for violation of intellectual property rights. In total, 15 suits were filed against a number of companies in excess of 100.
Their latest lawsuit hits out at Google Offers. Separate but connected suits filed also list Amazon, BuyWithMe, Dealon and Groupon as defendants. Thanks to Gametime IP for detailing the four patents that were apparently infringed upon:
- 7,039,603: “Settlement systems and methods wherein a buyer takes possession at a retailer of a product.”
- 6,249,772: “Systems and methods wherein a buyer purchases a product at a first price and acquires.”
- 6,754,636: “Purchasing systems and methods wherein a buyer takes possession at a retailer of a product.”
- 7,689,468: “Purchasing, redemption and settlement systems and methods wherein a buyer takes possession at a retailer.”
The specific patents were filed in 1996 and 1997 and began to issue starting in 2001.
You can read the whole complaint below: