Home > News > Patent Infringement Suit Targets Playboy’s Websites • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


Patent Infringement Suit Targets Playboy’s Websites

Patent Infringement Suit Targets Playboy’s Websites
Get XBIZ News
Aug 27, 2008 8:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
LOS ANGELES — Playboy Enterprises has been hit with a lawsuit over the method it sells adult DVDs, lingerie, sex toys and novelties on its websites, XBIZ has learned.

The infringement case against Playboy over U.S. Patent No. 5,721,832 was filed at U.S. District Court in Chicago by Furnace Brook LLC, seeking “enhanced” monetary damages, royalties and attorneys fees.

Furnace Brook, which owns the ‘832 patent described as a “method and apparatus for an interactive computerized catalog system,” has sent out about 200 demands for licensing in the past four years, attorney George C. Summerfield told XBIZ.

Summerfield of the Chicago-based law firm Stadheim & Grear, which represents Furnace Brook, said that the company so far has more than 70 licensed users of its patent, which “cuts across all industries,” and that other adult entertainment companies that do business on the web won’t be excluded from possible claims.

“We are looking for certain mechanisms, elements and common features on online retail sites, including graphical catalog data, payment information and more,” he said.

In Playboy’s case, Summerfield said that Furnace Brook sent out numerous letters to the adult entertainment giant but did not receive a favorable reply.

Playboy officials did not return XBIZ phone calls for comment by post time.

Furnace Brook has taken several blue-chip brands to court over ‘832, according to court filings, including Spiegel, Orbitz and Anna’s Linens. Those companies’ suits were terminated by Furnace Brook after the retailers licensed the patent.

Furnace Brook, however, lost a battle against Overstock.com, which sought a declaratory judgment of noninfringement in the case three years ago.

In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit noted that Furnace Brook fell squarely in the description of a "patent troll."

The court noted that Furnace Brook's business model seemed to be based on intimidating companies with the threat of litigation in order to force them to sign a license agreement.

For the adult entertainment industry, Furnace Brook vs. Playboy is reminiscent of Acacia Media Technologies Corp.’s litigation with dozens of companies over digital media transmission that is now in its fourth year.

Acacia claims its patent covers virtually any manner of transmitting and receiving digital and audio content over the Internet.

Although Acacia was able to secure settlements from a number of online adult companies, others fought back, and eventually coalesced into the united Adult Defense Group effort.

The case against the Adult Defense Group continues at U.S. District Court in San Jose.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


How Billers Help Merchants Profit While Playing by the Rules

Adult merchants face a wide range of challenges and considerations, including those surrounding the receipt and processing of payments for their products and services — a process governed by numerous... More »

A Look at the Latest Technological Advances in Billing

As the digital media industry races headlong into a future full of new technology, one vital underpinning — the ability to easily, profitably, and safely process payment transactions — is taking... More »

Sex Toy Storage Creators Discuss Growing Consumer Demand for Hygienic Options

Growing up, you probably had a few toys. When playtime came to an end, you were probably asked to put them away. Now, you are a grown up, and you probably have some toys of a different variety. But where... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.


XBIZ.net Paysite Meetup

May 04 - May 04
Prague, Czech Republic

Eurowebtainment 2017

May 17 - May 20
Majorca, Spain

XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!