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Earthcomber Drops Patent Lawsuit Against TechCrunch, Loopt

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Just a housekeeping item: the ridiculous patent infringement lawsuit brought against us and mobile social network Loopt (details here and here) by Earthcomber is history. The company walked away from the lawsuit.

We criticized being included in the lawsuit because we are nothing more than a search filter on Loopt. And the Earthcomber founder appeared to include us out of spite for not giving them as much press as they wanted. From my earlier post:

I called Earthcomber President Jim Brady this morning to verify the lawsuit. At first he wouldn’t answer – all he did was try to explain how he’s been wronged by Loopt. When pressed he did confirm that the lawsuit was filed, but quickly added that he didn’t really mean to press it with us. He wants to go to court with Loopt, but is willing to quickly work something out with us to make this go away, he told me, hinting that he’d like to partner with us. He also said he’s been desperately trying to get me on the phone but hasn’t been able to, so he decided to sue us instead.

The problem with using a lawsuit as a negotiating tactic is that you can’t put the cat back in the bag. The door is open, and it has to play out. In other words, suing someone to get them to return your calls is not exactly a sign of brilliance.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on the specifics of the patent claims, other than that they are absurd, since our lawyers have asked me not to. But I will say this – adding TechCrunch to a lawsuit based on the fact that we are a search filter (see image to left) in a product seems a little absurd to me. I’ve asked our attorneys to spend whatever it takes to kill this lawsuit, and to find a way to counter sue this guy into the stone age.

Did Earthcomber also sue iMeem, RockTheVote and NRDC, the other filtered search options? No. Because that doesn’t get them all this free press.

I’m just glad the whole thing is over, we have better things to focus on than this.

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