STAMFORD, Conn. & WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walker Digital, LLC announced today that it has filed suit in Delaware to stop the unauthorized use of its intellectual property rights and to recover its substantial investment in innovation. In total, 15 suits have been filed against more than 100 defendants, including Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, WalMart, Groupon, Apple, Sony and Google.
Walker Digital Chairman Jay S. Walker, founder of priceline.com, Synapse and numerous other successful companies, is the lead inventor on a majority of the company’s patents and applications. Mr. Walker has been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and inventors of solutions to a wide variety of business problems. Forbes magazine described him in a cover story as an “Edison for a New Age” and compared Walker Digital’s research and development lab to Edison’s original research labs. BusinessWeek selected Mr. Walker as one of the 25 Internet pioneers most responsible for “changing the competitive landscape of almost every industry in the world.”
“A number of great companies can trace their genesis to technology that was first developed at Walker Digital in the mid-to-late 1990s. We are proud of our inventions and the number of innovative businesses and activities founded on these inventions. These businesses have not only changed the way people around the world live, work, travel and interact socially and commercially, but also have given rise to numerous American jobs,” said Walker.
Walker Digital has started several operating companies, in addition to supporting several others with licenses, to commercialize its inventions in e-commerce, gaming, publishing, retailing, education and other industries. These companies have collectively served more than 100 million consumers, generated billions in revenue and created thousands of new jobs. The best-known company based on Walker Digital’s inventions is priceline.com, with a current market value of more than $22 billion. Priceline, launched in 1998, is one of the biggest success stories of all of the first-generation e-commerce companies.
Founded in 1994, Walker Digital has invested several hundred million dollars to create what is now a broad portfolio of inventions and operating companies. The company’s inventions are covered by more than 400 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents. Several hundred patent applications are currently pending. All of Walker Digital’s patents were created internally by invention teams at the company focused on generating new solutions to business problems. No patents have been purchased from other companies or inventors. The company has generated direct licensing revenues from its inventions well in excess of $200 million.
“Filing these lawsuits is not a step we sought or preferred,” said Walker Digital’s CEO Jon Ellenthal. “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,” Ellenthal continued.
According to Ellenthal, “Patent protection is a key part of our business model. It provides us with a period of exclusive ownership during which we can recoup our investment in innovation and generate the profits necessary to continue our invention efforts. This model dates back to our nation’s founding when encouraging and protecting innovation was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers recognized the value of a strong patent system as an important element in securing America’s economic advancement.”
“Our portfolio is the work of more than 100 people and enormous private financial investments over the past 17 years. As with any commercial inventor, our overriding goal is to see our inventions profitably reach the marketplace, either directly by founding start-ups or indirectly by enabling third-parties through licenses that allow us to participate in the economic value created from our property.”
Commenting on recent developments, Ellenthal stated, “We are disappointed that after reaching out to so many companies in an effort to secure reasonable licenses, we were consistently told that without litigation our requests would not be taken seriously. Few inventors can bear the costs of patent lawsuits and most large companies know they can take advantage of smaller inventors who cannot afford the millions of dollars that just one patent lawsuit can cost. At Walker Digital, we don’t believe that less innovation or more litigation serves anyone’s long-term interests. However, the unwillingness of those companies using our property to enter into joint commercial agreements has forced us to take an action that we had hoped to avoid. Indeed, ironically and unfortunately, our efforts to avoid litigation have been met, in some cases, with lawsuits filed against us just because we sent letters asking companies whether they would be willing to license some of our patented inventions.”
IP Navigation Group is acting as Walker Digital’s intellectual property advisor. “At the end of the day, a patent is a government granted property right that simply permits the owner to exclude others from copying his invention. We contacted these companies and urged them to come to the table. Some have been sitting down with us and we will continue to work with them outside the courtroom. But dozens of companies have responded with silence, indifference, delay or worse yet, by taking legal action against Walker Digital. Perhaps now we can start good faith negotiations. Walker Digital desires to license its intellectual property and not to prolong the legal process,” stated Erich Spangenberg, CEO of IPNav. “This is a plain and simple case of some companies taking advantage of the high costs and built-in delays of the U.S. legal system with their refusal to negotiate. We are committed to help protect Walker Digital’s intellectual property through the only means available.”
Mr. Walker concluded: “Our goals are two-fold. Obviously we want to realize a fair return on the use of our property. Who would want any less? But 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.”
About Walker Digital:
Walker Digital, LLC is the owner of several hundred U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications in diverse areas of technology. Additional information regarding Walker Digital is available at www.walkerdigital.com.
About IP Navigation Group:
IPNav’s expertise is patent monetization. Additional information regarding IPNav is available at www.ipnav.com. You can contact IPNav at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone at (214) 438-0800 or through their website.