Sigh. Here we go again.
A patent troll called Mount Hamilton Partners has filed two separate patent infringement lawsuits against daily deals juggernaut Groupon and Google, which also operates a digital couponing business called Google Offers.
Mount Hamilton Partners, which purports to be an ‘investor in technology companies’ on its website, garnered headlines about two and a half years ago when it sued OpenTable right before the restaurant reservation service provider went public. Now they’re going after Google and Groupon.
The patent in both cases is U.S. patent 7,904,334, entitled “System and method for reducing excess capacity for restaurants and other industries during off-peak or.”
In the filings, Mount Hamilton Partners argues that the fact that services like Groupon and Google Offers help restaurants fill unused seats and build direct relationships – thus increasing loyalty – with individual customers, infringes its patent, causing ‘irreparable harm’.
The patent in question was filed for in May 2004 and approved earlier this year. As far as I can tell, Mount Hamilton has never produced or sold any ‘innovations’ based on its patented technology.
Both suits seek damages. Both suits should have never been filed.
Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 565 cities around the world. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, Groupon can offer deals that aren’t available elsewhere. Groupon brings buyers and sellers together in a fun and collaborative way that offers the consumer an unbeatable deal, and businesses a large number of new customers. To date, it has saved consumers more than $300 million and claims it...
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...