Maintain an automated networked database? GraphOn wants to sue you

GraphOn is suing Google for patent infringement and the company appears to be doing a nice imitation of NTP, the company that made its name by suing Research in Motion. GraphOn is going for gold in the patent troll Olympics.

GraphOn is suing Google for patent infringement and the company appears to be doing a nice imitation of NTP, the company that made its name by suing Research in Motion. GraphOn is going for gold in the patent troll Olympics.

In a statement Monday, GraphOn said it was suing Google over four patents. The company claims that Google infringes on four patents--U.S. Patent Nos. 6,324,538, 6,850,940, 7,028,034 and 7,269,591. These patents protect GraphOn’s "unique method of maintaining an automated and network-accessible database." Google Base, Adwords, Blogger, Sites and YouTube allegedly infringe on these patents. GraphOn wants damages and injunctive relief.

Never heard of GraphOn? It's a developer of "Web enabling software solutions" that happens to be suing everyone that may tap into an automated network database.

To wit:

  • GraphOn sued AutoTrader.com in November 2005 and that ended in a settlement in January 2008.
  • GraphOn sued Juniper Networks in August 2007 over network security and firewall technologies.
  • GraphOn sued Classified Ventures, IAC/InterActiveCorp, Match.com, Yahoo! Inc., eHarmony.com, and CareerBuilder in March 2008.
  • And GraphOn may sue you too--assuming you have maintained an automated network accessible database.

I'm no patent lawyer but these GraphOn patents look weak. Consider patent 6,324,538. This one page gem covers:

  • A method for providing a pay-for-service web site comprising:
  • providing a web server coupled to a computer network having a database operatively disposed within and accessible on said network;
  • providing an HTML front-end entry process associated with the web server;
  • executing an HTML front-end entry process, said HTML front-end entry process being configured to:
  • create a personal homepage for an owner;
  • store said personal home page in said database;
  • index said personal homepage in said database in a user-defined category; and
  • receive a fee from said owner for making said personal homepage accessible on said network.

In other words, GraphOn put a patent on the Web.

And the graphic describes just about any site:

graphon1.png

I'd go through the other patents, but they're basically carbon copies.

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