University of California sues Facebook, Wal-mart over patents

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:36pm EDT

In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through glasses held by a woman in Bern May 19, 2012. Picture taken May 19, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Hodel

In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through glasses held by a woman in Bern May 19, 2012. Picture taken May 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Hodel

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A University of California patent licensee which has sued some of the biggest U.S. companies is taking on three more -- Facebook Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc and the Walt Disney Co.

Eolas Technologies Inc and the Regents of the University of California filed lawsuits on Wednesday over four patents they believe the companies are infringing.

The patents for interactive technology, including hypermedia display and interaction, were issued to the university and licensed to Eolas, a Texas company chaired by Michael Doyle.

The company was founded to help the University of California commercialize patent technology, its website says, including patents Doyle and his team helped develop while he worked at the University of California, San Francisco.

A University of California spokesman said it considered the patents public assets and "should be paid a fair value when a third party exploits that university asset for profit."

A Facebook spokesman said the company believed the lawsuit was without hermit. "We will fight it vigorously," he said.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the world's largest retailer respects the intellectual property rights of others. "We take these allegations seriously and are looking into the matter."

Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman and several lawyers for Eolas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two of the patents cited in the latest lawsuits were declared invalid in February by a Texas jury in a separate lawsuit. That action targeted Amazon Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc and others. The process by which Eolas could launch new lawsuits concerning those same patents was unclear.

Eolas settled patent litigation with Microsoft Corp in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. The University of California said at the time its portion of the settlement was $30.4 million.

(Reporting By Sarah McBride; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Comments (5)
Geek_News wrote:
It would seem the proofreaders and editors at Reuters must have taken the night off. I expect bloggers to have posts laden with errors but not article by real world “journalists” HAHA

Sep 12, 2012 10:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Revenimus wrote:
Can anyone say predatory litigation = “Two of the patents cited in the latest lawsuits were declared invalid in February by a Texas jury in a separate lawsuit.” Just throw lawsuits at all the big corporations and you might just hit the jackpot somewhere along the line ;-)

Sep 12, 2012 10:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
learntothink wrote:
Good editing, every lawsuit needs a hermit to succeed.

“A Facebook spokesman said the company believed the lawsuit was without hermit. “We will fight it vigorously,” he said.”

Sep 12, 2012 12:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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