MindGeek, Vilox in Search Patent Suit

MindGeek, Vilox in Search Patent Suit
Rhett Pardon

MARSHALL, Texas — Patent holding company Vilox Technologies last month filed a federal lawsuit against MindGeek alleging that the adult entertainment conglomerate infringes on three of its patents over “search” technologies.

The lawsuit, filed at U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, claims that four MindGeek properties under the “PornHub Network” — PornHub.com, YouPorn.com, PornMD.com and Thumbzilla.com — are infringing on U.S. Patent Nos. 6,760,720; 7,188,100; and 7,302,423

Vilox Technologies’ patents, according to the suit, provide intuitive mechanisms for searching and merging databases called “sort-on-the-fly/search-on-the-fly data retrieval.”

Vilox Technologies’ lawsuit waged against MindGeek over search methods is not unique.

Since 2015, Vilox Technologies has waged 13 other "search-on-the-fly" infringement cases against mainstream companies Costco Wholesale Corp., Loews Companies Inc., Foot Locker, The Priceline Group Inc., Trip Advisor Inc., Orbitz Worldwide Inc., L Brands Inc. and Express Inc.

For the online adult biz, history has shown that patent holding companies, sometimes known as “patent assertion entities,” have no problem targeting the industry with broad infringement claims.

Besides search formula suits, other claims waged against adult businesses by patent holding companies have involved technologies for embedded applications and certain techniques for sending compressed audio and video signals over a network.

The adult companies, of course, have collectively spent millions on legal fees defending against unfamiliar patent holding companies like Lodsys Group, Skky Inc., ExitExchange Corp., Joao Control and Monitoring Systems, Tejas Research, Eolas Technologies and Acacia Technology Group.

Vilox Technologies' lawsuit was filed at the federal court in Marshall — a popular one for patent claims.

Industry attorneys confide that quick trials and plaintiff-friendly juries are the big draw there. So are the Texas-sized verdicts sometimes handed to winners.

Patent cases are heard faster in Marshall than in many other courts, forcing some defendants to buckle under the pressure of time when trying to sort out complex infringement cases.

And while only about five percent make it to trial in Marshall, patent holders win 78 percent of the time, compared with an average of 59 percent nationwide, according to LegalMetric, a company that tracks patent litigation.

In the MindGeek suit, Vilox Technologies is seeking a declaration that the adult company has infringed on the three patents, unspecified damages and attorneys fees.

MindGeek officials on Tuesday declined comment over Vilox's claims.

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