University Of California Sues Facebook, Wal-Mart, Disney For Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on September 13, 2012

university_campus-200x150 Los Angeles – The Regents of the University of California hit Facebook Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday with three separate lawsuits alleging they infringed four patents for interactive technology developed by the university.

The university and Eolas Technologies Inc., a Texas-based entity created to manage and commercialize the university’s intellectual property portfolio, accuse the three companies of infringing U.S. Patent Numbers 5,838,906, 7,599,985, 8,082,293 and 8,086,662.

All of the patents are titled “Distributed hypermedia method and system for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document.”

Eolas has an exclusive license to the patents including all exclusionary rights under the patents, and the exclusive right to prevent others from using or practicing the patented methods, the complaints in the Eastern District of Texas say.

The companies are infringing the patents by offering web pages and content to be interactively presented in browsers, software that allows content to be interactively presented in or served to browsers, and computer equipment that stores, serves or runs any of those web pages or software, the university says.

Two of the patents in suit, the ‘906 and ‘985 patents were ruled to be invalid earlier this year by a Texas jury in a different case against Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other companies. The university and Eolas plan to appeal the invalidity finding to the Federal Circuit.

The university filed a motion to stay in each of its cases against Facebook, Wal-Mart and Disney on the same day as its complaints, saying the Federal Circuit’s eventual ruling on the invalidity appeal is likely to have a material effect on the allegations in the three new cases.

The university and Eolas filed the three new suits to preserve damages during the remaining life of the patents in suit in the event that the Federal Circuit reverses the invalidity finding in the earlier action, they said.

The motion to stay requests that the Texas district court stay all deadlines in the new cases until after the Federal Circuit resolves the appeal in the earlier case.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement