The lodsys case

2011-06-12

Lodsys filed a complaint last week against a number of online retailers.  Lodsys is a so-called “non-practicing entity” – a patent holding company that doesn’t build products.  They previously filed lawsuits against Apple developers among others.  I am not a lawyer but I wanted to try to understand the case so read some of the documents.  This is my best understanding of the situation.

Here is an example of Lodsys’ accusations, in this case against bestbuy.com:

best buy
best buy

The reference to ’908 is referring to patent 5,999,908, which was filed in 1997.  It is an invention that appears to allow users to give feedback to websites:

908 abstract
908 abstract

Here is one example diagram from the patent about how the invention could be embodied:

feedback
feedback

Here is the specific claim (claim 37) that bestbuy.com and other retailers are allegedly infringing:

claim 37
claim 37

As far as I can tell, the first clause says that it the claim is referring to a computer product, which in the case of bestbuy.com seems to be their website, where the user and server can send information back and forth.  The second clause seems to say that this system includes computer code. The third clause seems to say this system includes a database.  The fourth clause seems to say there is a information transmitted between the user, web server and database.

Next post: Allocation investing and the social premium
Previous post: Notes on raising seed financing

Views expressed in “content” (including posts, podcasts, videos) linked on this website or posted in social media and other platforms (collectively, “content distribution outlets”) are my own and are not the views of AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) or its respective affiliates. AH Capital Management is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any special skill or training. The posts are not directed to any investors or potential investors, and do not constitute an offer to sell -- or a solicitation of an offer to buy -- any securities, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment.

The content should not be construed as or relied upon in any manner as investment, legal, tax, or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Any charts provided here are for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, I have not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. The content speaks only as of the date indicated.

Under no circumstances should any posts or other information provided on this website -- or on associated content distribution outlets -- be construed as an offer soliciting the purchase or sale of any security or interest in any pooled investment vehicle sponsored, discussed, or mentioned by a16z personnel. Nor should it be construed as an offer to provide investment advisory services; an offer to invest in an a16z-managed pooled investment vehicle will be made separately and only by means of the confidential offering documents of the specific pooled investment vehicles -- which should be read in their entirety, and only to those who, among other requirements, meet certain qualifications under federal securities laws. Such investors, defined as accredited investors and qualified purchasers, are generally deemed capable of evaluating the merits and risks of prospective investments and financial matters. There can be no assurances that a16z’s investment objectives will be achieved or investment strategies will be successful. Any investment in a vehicle managed by a16z involves a high degree of risk including the risk that the entire amount invested is lost. Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by a16z is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Excluded from this list are investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets. Past results of Andreessen Horowitz’s investments, pooled investment vehicles, or investment strategies are not necessarily indicative of future results. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.