In a broad move, technology research and development lab Walker Digital—which most famously gave birth to Priceline.com—has filed some 15 lawsuits against more than 100 leading technology companies, alleging they infringe on a broad array of it patents. The company chairman, Jay Walker, is the founder of Priceline.com and the lead inventor on the majority of Walker Digital’s patent and patent applications, and claims a broad number of patents that apply to ecommerce, retailing, online publishing, gaming, education and other industries—and now he wants to be compensated for other companies allegedly using his work.
“Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred,” said Walker Digital CEO Jon Ellenthal, in a statement. “We have reached out to a wide range of companies that are engaging in commercial activities that clearly depend on inventions created and owned by Walker Digital. Unfortunately, many of these companies have refused to engage in meaningful negotiations that acknowledge the market value they derive from the use of our property.”
Among the companies named in Walkers’ suits; Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, eBay, Groupon, and even retailing giant Walmart.
Walker Digital claims a portfolio of more than 400 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents that cover its own inventions, along with several hundred additional pending applications—and, unlike so-called patent trolls, Walker Digital developed the patents themselves, rather than purchasing them from other companies or inventors.
“Obviously we want to realize a fair return on the use of our property,” said Jay Walker, in a statement. “We also hope this effort will contribute to the process of moving the asset class of patents and intellectual property out of the stone age of litigation and into an efficient market which, in the end, would benefit America and its economy.”
Walker Digital claims revenues of over $200 million from licensing its patents; Priceline.com, founded by Walker, has a market value over $20 billion, and is one of the few standout successes from the initial dot-com boom.