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The Infamous Sportbrain Patent Troll

admin 7th, November, 2017

Patent trolls gather huge attention either because of the number of lawsuits they launch or probably because of the number of high-profile companies that these patent troll target upon. Either way, patent trolls always manage to garner much publicity.

One such livid instance is of Sportbrain – a company that was virtually out of business at one time which has now emerged as an NPE and managed to sue over 100 companies by laying claims to a broad software patent, US patent no. 7,454,002, titled ‘Integrating personal data capturing functionality into a portable computing device and a wireless communication device.’

The patent relates to integration of personal data capturing functionality into a wireless communication device for analyzing and supplying feedback information to a user. The personal data is captured using a wireless communication device and is periodically transmitted to a network server for comparison of personal data for said user with personal data for at least one other different user and posting the feedback information to a web site that is accessible to said user.

Sportbrain has been filing lawsuits against many high profile companies that own range of ‘wearable’ devices and software products that gather user fitness information. Adidas, Fitbit, Nike, Apple, Samsung, HP and Microsoft have all fallen prey to these lawsuits. It has also sued watchmaking companies such as Timex, Tag Heuer, Nixon and Swatch, to name a few.

A petition for inter partes review (IPR) against all claims 1-16 of the ‘002 patent was filed last year by Unified Patents, a defense-oriented patent company that calls itself as ‘The Anti-Troll.’ It was part of Unified’s campaign to challenge the “three most prolific patent trolls” of 2016 – Sportbrain being one of them. Together, these three NPEs sued more than 200 companies in 2016, accounting for almost 15% of patent cases filed against high-tech companies.

Recently, the Patent Office has decided to institute an investigation over all 16 of the claims in the ‘002 patent. News says that the Patent Office is already aware of two earlier patents that ‘collectively’ teach “collecting, storing, and compiling performance data at a web server.”

But what if, there exists a single prior art document that disclosed each and every element of the ‘002 patent – wouldn’t that have been even better!?

Since we love to challenge our limits at IDS-IP, we got into action and soon found exactly what we were looking for! We were able to identify multiple prior art references that reveals all the limitations of the ‘002 patent! One of the prior art identified discloses a system that transfers feedback data of athlete’s performance to a remote station which is further compared with performance data of one or more athletes. The outcomes of this comparison data is then displayed over an internet website.

If you want your copy of one of such prior art you may reach us at ip.support@idsil.com. You may also share your views.

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