WSJ is reporting that Facebook and Google have been sued by Wireless Ink Corp, a Long Island based company for patent infringement. Wireless Ink is accusing Facebook and Google’s mobile websites of infringing upon Wireless Ink’s patent that was sought in 2004 and finally granted to them in 2009.
Wireless Ink’s patent was for a process of “management of information content for enhanced accessibility over wireless communication networks.” After acquiring the patent Wireless Ink has now taken both Facebook and Google to court alleging that Facebook’s social network and Google’s Gmail and Buzz, alongwith the mobile sites of both companies are using their patented techniques.
A spokesman from Facebook, while talking to WSJ, stated that, “This suit is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.” Google however, declined to comment on the grounds, that they haven’t reviewed the lawsuit as yet.
The lawsuit has reminded me of a similar battle between Judy’s Book a local business review site and Yahoo. Judy’s book claimed to invent the term “Social Search” and went ahead and got it patented. However, Yahoo started to use the same term of services on its own site. Judy’s Book lamented about this infringement by Yahoo on its patent, but decided not to file a suit against Yahoo as they thought that the final battle is won or lost in the consumer space and not in the court.
Judy’s Book was right, both Judy’s Book and Yahoo’s Search offerings – let alone its Social touch to Search is irrelevant now, and most of the reader of this blog might have never heard about either. Wireless Ink’s Patent can be viewed here.