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Acacia Names New Defendants

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Dec 18, 2003 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Acacia Technologies Group threw a surprise curve ball at the adult entertainment industry at the opening of the market Thursday by announcing that it has added eight more adult companies to its ongoing patent litigation process.

Pending approval from the District Court for the Central District of California, Acacia is seeking class action status on the suit.

According to Robert Berman, Acacia's executive vice president of business development, the patent holder is proposing to the court that the class action suit have two class representatives, which Berman named as being Global Media Resources, the parent company of Python and related sites, and Encino, Calif.-based Cybernet Ventures, Inc., which operates Adult Check.

XBiz spoke with Bryce Thomason, a business consultant for Cybernet, and was told that the company had not yet been served papers. Similarly, a representative for Python was not aware of the lawsuit at the time of this printing.

The basis of the lawsuit contends that the eight defendants have infringed on Acacia's DMT patents by transmitting digital audio and audio/video adult content over the Internet.

According to a statement issued by Acacia, that content was streamed "into or from the Central District of California," and the defendants operate at least one interactive website where a user located in the Central District of California can exchange information with a host computer.

The purpose of appointing class representatives in the suit, according to Berman, is to name two lead defendants who will represent the entire class and who can best put up a reasonable defense.

Typically, class action lawsuits are filed when there are a large number of plaintiffs that bunch together under the umbrella of one suit. However, in some cases, class action suits are also used against defendants that are similarly situated.

However, it is still up to the court to decide whether or not to certify the class. The judge will also decide how Acacia's most recent filing will impact the Feb. 6 Markman hearing between Acacia and the 13 counter-litigants from the adult industry.

There is some speculation that the Markman hearing could be delayed pending the outcome of Acacia's new filings.

Acacia has so far filed complaints against 39 defendants from the adult industry, although according to Berman, that number has since dwindled to eleven, some of whom are now involved in a counter-suit against the patent holder.

"This is merely a distraction and another attempt for Acacia to abuse the adult industry with the legal system," Spike Goldberg of Homegrown Video told XBiz. "I find it interesting that they haven't signed any mainstream companies and that they continue to have a double standard for the adult industry. There is nothing we're doing any different than CNN, MSN, Yahoo and others, and yet Acacia is still choosing to pursue us. As an industry we will prevail."

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