Suit Seeks to Invalidate Lodsys Patents

CHICAGO — Patent holding company Lodsys, which recently sent out scores of infringement notices to online adult companies, has itself been hit with a suit over threats of lawsuits and attempts to get companies to license its patented methods.

Michigan market research company Foresee Results Inc. said in a suit filed Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Chicago that Lodsys has been sending out infringement notices to several of its customers — Best Buy, Adidas and WE Energies — over four patents, one of which is the same patent that Lodsys is trying to force online adult companies to license.

Just last week, numerous online adult companies received letters delivered by FedEx, saying that the companies have been infringing on U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078, which includes "methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network."

According to U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078's abstract, "In an exemplary system, information is received at a central location from different units of a commodity. The information is generated from two-way local interactions between users of the different units of the commodity and a user interface in the different units of the commodity. The interactions elicit from respective users their perceptions of the commodity."

In a preemptive move, Foresee Results on Tuesday asked the federal court for relief by seeking a declaratory judgment against Lodsys' attempt to force licensing over U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078, as well as U.S. Patent Nos. 5,999,908, 7,620,565 and 7,133,834.

ForeSee in Tuesday's suit denies that it infringes any valid and enforceable claim of the U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078's, as well as three others, "and avers that the assertions of infringement cannot be maintained consistently with statutory conditions of patentability and the statutory requirements for disclosure and claiming that must be satisfied for patent validity."

Foresee is asking for declaratory judgment that the patent claims are invalid and a permanent restraining order forcing Lodsys to halt its practice of interfering with its business or customers' business. It also seeks attorneys fees.

Lodsys CEO Mark Small told XBIZ this week that he couldn't comment on the patent infringement notices but would let court filings do the talking for the company.

"We made a decision not to do press and apply our resources to licensing discussions, and we want to be consistent/fair in our policy," Small said.

Foresee attorney Brent Hawkins, of Chicago-based law firm McDermott, Will and Emery, did not immediately respond for comment to XBIZ.