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