XBIZ has learned that the targeted adult operators include Playboy Enterprises, Penthouse Media Group, LFP Internet Group, FriendFinder’s Steamray Inc., Vivid Entertainment, Playboy's ClubJenna unit, Anabolic Video Productions, Evil Angel Productions, New Destiny Internet Group, Shane Enterprises and Private Media Group’s GameLink.
The suit also includes mainstream companies TrueBeginnings and Woo Media.
The allegedly infringing websites include AnabolicLive.com, HomeGrownCams.com, VividLive.com, PlayboyLive.com, EvilAngelLive.com, GameLinkLive.com, SpiceLive.com, Penthouse.com, AdultFriendFinder.com, HustlerLive.com, True.com, ShanesWorldLive.com, WooMe.com and ClubJennaLive.com.
Each of the companies are being sued by patent holding company Joao Control and Monitoring Systems at U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas.
They all are allegedly infringing on U.S. Patent No. 7,277,010 by making, using or selling video monitoring and communications apparatus and services that are defined by the patent, according to the suit.
The complaint did not elaborate on specific alleged infringement by the 12 adult and two mainstream companies. XBIZ calls for comment to attorney Andrew Spangler, Joao Control and Monitoring Systems' attorney, went unreturned at post time.
The patent, which is owned by Yonkers, N.Y., patent attorney Raymond Anthony Joao, seeks compensatory damages, attorneys fees and a permanent injunction, among other demands.
Joao, who is licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut, owns a wide variety of patents, reportedly over 90.
He recently filed suit against more than a dozen banks and communications companies, including AT&T Inc., American Express Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The banks are accused of infringing a patent that covers an apparatus and method for making secure credit card transactions.
New Destiny’s Farrell Timlake, who savored victory last month when a federal judge threw out Acacia Technology’s patent claims against his adult company and others over digital streaming media, told XBIZ late Monday that he couldn’t comment on the suit. New Destiny markets one of the website's named in the complaint, HomeGrownCams.com.
Longtime online adult expert Brandon "Fight the Patent" Shalton told XBIZ late Monday that the legal challenge "smells of patent abuse."
"On quick read, this patent, and the patents it builds upon, is focused on security (remote monitoring)," he said. "Its quite a stretch to think that this would apply to webcams.
"The patent doesn't make any mention of a financial aspect to the viewing (i.e.: paying per minute, etc)."