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UC attacks huge companies with lawsuits

If you’re going to successfully sue somebody, you might as well go hard or go home. Right?

Personally, I don’t have much knowledge in this field. I’ve neither sued anyone or been sued myself — knock on wood — but if the occasion was to arise when I would need to throw a subpoena in someone’s face, I’d like to make it count.

And take a lesson from the University of California, who slapped three big names with big lawsuits in a single day.

NBCBayArea is reporting via Reuters that Regents of the University of California, along with Eolas Technologies, have filed suit Wednesday against Facebook, Wal-Mart, and the Walt Disney Company for “patent violations,” claiming that the three companies are infringing on UC patents dealing with interactivity and hypermedia.

Simple terms: UC says these companies are using their interactive technology without paying for it.

Simpler terms: UC is calling these companies cheapskates.


Texas-based Eolas was founded with the sole purpose of helping the University of California at large “commercialize patent technology.” Some of the patents were even Bay Area-bred, created by a team including Eolas chairman Michael Doyle while he was at the University of San Francisco.

It is the current claim that those patents are not being acknowledged, and the three companies have used said patented technology without giving UC its share of the profit. A spokesperson tells Reuters that UC “should be paid a fair value when a third party exploits that university asset for profit.”

This is hardly Eolas’ first courthouse rodeo. Eolas sued 22 companies in 2009 for infringing on their patents, including Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, eBay and Amazon. Some, like Microsoft, settled out of court. Others are still litigating.

And the reaction from those on the other side of the suits?

Wal-Mart was forthright. The retail conglomerate said they “take these allegations seriously and are looking into the matter.”

Facebook was dismissive in a way only a company created by an overly-intelligent and people-skills-lacking figure could be dismissing: They said the suit had no merit. Ba-zinga.

Disney was not available for comment.

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