GraphOn, which considers itself a "leading worldwide developer of server-based application publishing and Web-enabling software solutions," today announced that it is suing Google for infringing on four of GraphOn's patents. According to the complaint (embedded below), Google Base, AdWords, Blogger, Sites, and YouTube allegedly infringe on GraphOn's patent for a "unique method of maintaining an automated and network-accessible database" - a patent that is so broad, it basically covers the complete Internet as we know it today.
These four patents were filed between July 1998 and May 2004. The earliest, 6,324,538, covers self-publishing on a database driven website and almost reads like a description of a modern blog, though it is more concerned with publishing directories. The later three patents (6,850,940, 7,028,034, and 7,269,591) build upon this and mostly include methods for paying for these services. We are no patent lawyers here, but looking over these patents, a lot of it seems to be material that has been covered in database textbooks since the early days of the net.
Stock Is Up
GraphOn's stock is currently up 16% for the day and is now trading at a near record high for 2008 of $0.29. At the height of the first Internet bubble, Graph on was trading for more than $22.
Not the First Time
This lawsuit against Google is part of GraphOn's typical modus operandi. Within the last few years, the company has filed lawsuits against AutoTrader.com (also for the 6,324,538 patent), Match.com, Yahoo, eHarmony, and CareerBuilder. We have been trying to get more information about these other lawsuits, but it doesn't seem like any of these suits were either settled or have gone to court yet, except for the AutoTrader.com suit, which was settled through a licensing agreement in January of 2008.
The fact that the company proudly reports this in the press-release helps to put this suit against Google into perspective: this is exactly what GraphOn does. It is interesting that GraphOn waited for five days before issuing this press release. It would almost seem like the company was hoping to drive some publicity by just filing the suit on the 13th, but when that didn't happen, they were more or less forced to announce the suit themselves.
We have embedded the actual complaint below, courtesy of Justia.com: