MapMyFitness has licensed the patent. It’s perhaps the smallest of those who were sued, though it was not named in the suit below, so far as I can tell.
——original post 11/10/09—-
Fifteen companies that offer Web maps being sued by WebMap Technologies LLC for infringement of patent 6,772,142 called Method and Apparatus for Collecting and Expressing Geographically Referenced Data.
The patent in question: 6,772,142 “Method and Apparatus for Collecting and Expressing Geographically Referenced Data”
It’s from 2004 and originally assigned to Cornell Research Foundation, Inc. (Ithaca, NY) and National Audubon Society, Inc. (New York, NY). It seems to have come from work with saving data about birds. Both organizations are known for their work with birds.
The companies in the suit include Expedia, Google, Microsoft, the Washington Post, Ticketmaster, Travelocity, Tripadvisor, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Zagat Survey. (full list here)
WebMap Technologies is based in Frisco, TX and claims to be the only licensee of the patent. WebMap Tech alleges in the complaint that Google has known about the potential infringement for some time before the suit was filed. The plaintiff wants a permanent injunction enjoining defendants, damages, costs, expenses, interest, enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees and other relief to which it may be entitled. Oh, and a jury trial. The suite was filed Nov 3.
Fast Company refers to Webmap Technologies as a defunct navigation company (but TechCrunch confirms that company is not involved in the suit, it’s just a company that had the same name). No one seems at all sure who is behind the new WebMap Technologies.
Fast Company calls the suit “the most bloated and fatuous IP lawsuit in recent memory.” It also points out that the Bilski decision pretty much negated any software patents making this case moot. But, Bilski is now under review by the Supreme Court (the case began Nov 9, WSJ coverage). So, if it’s overturned Webmap Technologies could be in business, if in fact the patent is valid and the companies did infringe.