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Magento and Patent Infringment
 
ashk
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Joined:  2010-11-22
 

Wondering if anyone at Magento caught the recent frivelous suit from Kelora (aka PartsRiver) against Target, OfficeMax, and some other heavy online hitters:
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/60405793/Kelora-v-Target-Officemax-Shopko-Briggs-and-Stratton-et-al

The complaint is in regards to this patent:
http://ip.com/patent/US6275821

The patent is for a “search method” where instead of a hierarchical approach, the application uses family groupings to narrow products (they call it guided parametric search).  A hierarchical approach would be one where in order to get to Small Red Widgets I would have to first go to Widgets, then to Red Widgets, then to Small Red Widgets.  If you wanted to get to Small Blue Widgets, I would have to go back to the top of the hierarchical tree and then select Blue and then Small to get my Small Blue Widgets.  The issue with this being you may not know how your end user may prioritize those things.  They may want to see all the Small Widgets and don’t care about the color, but in this hierarchical approach, that isn’t possible as its a branch past the color selection.  Magento handles this by having grouping of objects based off these characteristics.  I can, just as easily start of with all Small Widgets as I could with all Blue Widgets.  This seems to be what Kelora is claiming as their patent.

The have also tried to sue some other “big dogs” previously (microsoft, yahoo, shopzilla...):
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/texas/txedce/2:2007cv00440/105781/1/

of which Microsoft counter-sued:
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/61865036/Microsoft-v-PartsRiver-and-Kelora-Systems

 
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ashk
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Noone is concerned about this?  This would effect every single Magento implementation out there.  I’m sure most are thinking this doesn’t effect them because they aren’t big enough like those listed but I can guarantee you, smaller sites are receiving notification of this from Kelora.

 
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jwebber
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We received the notification from their lawyers as well. We run a pretty small site that only gets 300-500 visitors/day.

 
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ashk
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Yea, I’m guessing they are trying to do a quick cash grab with the smaller sites out there before someone like Microsoft or Target get the patent declared invalid (I know Microsoft got some parts declared invalid to which Kelora had redifined in the patent).

Hopefully Magento gets out infront of this so those using it won’t have to battle it out alone.

 
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Dannyz1984
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so these things are more like a wait and see?

id like to see what magento has to say about this. are we covered under their licensing umbrella in this case?

i know i should probably ask a lawyer.

 
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ashk
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Joined:  2010-11-22
 

so these things are more like a wait and see?

Can\’t comment on that for you.  Probably worth your time to talk to your lawyer if you have one though.

Will be interesting to see just how many people have been contacted.  Starting to think they definitely are sending out a blanket of these to anyone and everyone, no matter your size (while only currently suing the big guys to get everyone elses attention).

 
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niaxilin
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Looks interesting. Let us know if you hear anything on this, especially from a lawyer.

Patent Number: 6,275,821
Wisconsin Western District Case Number: 10-CV-683 (Kelora vs. Target, etc)
Texas Case Number: 2-07-CV-440 (PartsRiver vs Shopzilla, Microsoft, etc)
California Case Number: 3:2009cv00811 (PartsRiver vs Shopzilla, Microsoft, etc)

 
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chiefair
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Been receiving junk like this from patent squatters since 1996.

You receive an extortion letter trying to stampede you into paying their royalty license so they can build their war chest to start litigation to get even larger chunks of money out of people who haven’t paid for licensing their “intellectual” property.

Said “intellectual” property which belongs to them as much as that third level tranche percentage on a b- grade securitized mortgage allows the bond holder to come back and demand payment on the unknowable percentage of money possibly owed on a property whose deed has changed hands so many times no one knows who owns the property, deed or mortgage.

Often the “patents” have been bought and sold so many times that they have the same equivalent value and the current holders couldn’t produce the “idea” the patent encompasses if you locked them in a cell with a computer system, programming environment and software and threatened them with slow starvation for failure to produce after 6 months of programming.

 
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RoyRubin
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I’m interested in seeing the letters/communication from them, can you please forward to legal(at) magento (dot) com

 
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IWDAgency
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pharmokan - 23 November 2010 10:59 AM

so these things are more like a wait and see?

If they don’t provide us clarification and modifications for this particular issue then that’s it. It is more likely waiting till when they give us the result (waiting for nothing??)… But Im pretty much sure they were working with it already. Right Magento???

 
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Rhonda_Rondeau
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Joined:  2010-08-03
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We\’re looking into it.

Any further info/docs should be sent DIRECTLY to legal (at) magento (dot) com

Please email me directly if you have any further questions!

Thanks!

Rhonda

 
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