A Delaware-based company has filed separate lawsuits against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Samsung, alleging the manufacturers infringe on two of its patents related to demographically targeted advertising. In its filings with the Tennessee district court in Memphis, B.E. Technology has asked for trials by jury.
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The two patents relate to user interfaces for accessing computer programs and information resources and, more specifically, to user interfaces that provide advertising in a personalized manner. The company says the manufacturers’ products infringe on the patent by using a method of providing demographically targeted advertising.
Such frivolous lawsuits by small entities against more established companies have become extremely frequent in the recent years, with the practice being referred to as patent trolling. Last month, a new bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in an attempt to deter such litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants’ legal costs. The SHIELD Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.
“Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who co-introduced the bill, had said in a press release then. “They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product.”
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