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Patent Troll Data Carriers Sues Another 24 Victims

This time, the patent troll is mainly going after websites and app providers, including Yelp, Trip Advisor, Netflix, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Staples, Sears, Orbitz,,, LinkedIn,, Hulu, AT&T, SAP, Vizio, Newegg, and Netflix. In a previous legal attack, Data Carriers filed suit against companies including Apple, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, RIM, Nokia, Nintendo, Motorola, LG, Lenovo, HP, Dell and Asus.

The suit revolves around a single patent entitled "Proactive presentation of automating features to a computer user" and has developed into a suit that is among the broadest patent infringement suits filed in recent months. As usual, Data Carriers is not the inventor of the patent, but the fact that it acquired the rights to it from Symantec in March of this year, entitles the company to play school yard bully and blackmail others for their lunch. What makes suits like this so surreal is the fact that Data Carriers is a company with no traceable history but tradable patents allow the entity to argue that it has suffered damages and is, as a result, entitled to receive a judgment for "damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment and post-judgment interest", as well as attorneys’ fees and accounting documentation that would show a case for "supplemental damages".

As we noted in an earlier article, the patent in question protects a rather common approach in software today. As soon as a software would react with an automated feature to a user action, for example the setting of automated backups or the automated feature shown by Microsoft's office ribbon bar, the patent could be, in theory, infringed. Strangely enough, some of the most powerful players in the industry, Microsoft and Google are not being sued by Data Carriers as of now. There was no information if Data Carriers settled its previous suits with some or all of the defendants.

There has been some notion that the U.S. patent system is broken. The rather questionable claims made by Data Carriers may be one of the best examples for such a claim.


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Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.

  • gtvr
    I don't suppose anyone in Congress follows tech news like this...
  • icepick314
    why not go through the lawsuit and ask them to show those so called damages caused by these "patent infringements"?

    pretty sure Data Carriers won't have ANY proof of "damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment and post-judgment interest"...
  • fiduke
    At least this should encourage patent law overhaul.
  • freggo
    That's not patent infringment, that's patent abuse.
    We need to put an end to this bull as it severely restricts development.
    As a programmer these days you can not write 3 lines of code without wondering if you may infringe on someone's "patent".
  • gilgamex
    Victim is a good term for this because it's flat out Legal Assault
  • classzero
    class HelloWorldApp {
    public static void main(String args) {
    System.out.println("Hello World!");

    I have the patent to display a string with the System.out.println(); Cease and desist from using it.
  • sabarjp
    Patents make absolutely no sense for software. Software code is already covered by copyright. If your code gets reverse-engineered or someone comes up with their own implementation, then what is the big deal?

    The software industry was perfectly fine before these last couple of years.
  • so many lazy bastards trying to cash in on others work.

    no wounder nothing interesting gets made in the USA anymore.

    Shit like this definatly desn't incourage people to be creative, and try new ideas. Shocked Steam isn't on the list, mise well be afterall they went after our beloved
  • xenol
    Part of me is thinking... I'm surprised patent trolls haven't gotten angsty enough to sue media outlets for calling them patent trolls yet.
  • A Bad Day
    There has been some notion that the U.S. patent system is broken. The rather questionable claims made by Data Carriers may be one of the best examples for such a claim.