Dell Faces E-Commerce Patent Suit

Dell Computer is being charged with patent infringement in a landmark intellectual property case that could impact online adult merchants and other e-commerce operators who do business "across borders" as well.

DE Technologies holds the patent for computerized transactions across borders, a patent which they claim Dell is infringing on.

Granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in October of 2002 after a five year battle by principal's Edward Pool, an international trade specialist, and Douglas Mauer, a telecoms management consultant; DE Technologies' patent could have a potentially broader reach into online operations than the more familiar "Acacia" claims, and is the latest in a series of patent infringement claims centering around now commonplace practices.

According to the "Universal shopping center for international operation" patent abstract, "An international transaction system for operation over the Internet/intranet provides a pre-transactional calculation of all charges involved in any international transaction. Upon the option of the customer, the goods can be viewed on catalogue sheets translated to a language of the customer's choice, and the price provided in a currency selected by the customer. The customer also has the option of initiating the order with automatic credit authorization, generation of an electronic title or commercial invoice and arrangements and payment of shipping charges and any taxes and import/export duties."

Claiming that his patented system was conceived in 1992 to mitigate logistical problems in his import business, by 2000, Pool's attorneys believed the patent on his Borderless Order Entry System (BOES) entitled his company to collect a 0.3% license fee on every computerized cross-border trade deal, with an estimated global market reaching over $5 trillion in sales.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell has been fueled by double digit growth, is projected to become a $60 billion company in 2006, and has announced plans to build a third U.S. factory in North Carolina, joining its plants in Tennessee and Texas.

In an earlier interview, Pool said of his software: "This may not be rocket science in the year 2000, but try eight years ago."