EveryMD’s Facebook-Related Suit Targets Presidential Candidates
- March 1, 2012
On February 27, 2012 EveryMD [NPE] filed suit against Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, alleging that the defendants’ Facebook business accounts infringe a patent related to individual home pages that allow users to send messages to and submit comments about the members. Frank Weyer and Troy Javaher are the named inventors on the patent-in-suit and the founders of EveryMD. Weyer and Javaher filed suit against Facebook and MySpace in January 2010. Facebook filed an inter partes reexamination proceeding with regards to the patent-in-suit, and the case was stayed in September 2010 pending the results of that reexam. The Court administratively dismissed the case without prejudice in August 2011 and indicated that the action will be reinstated, “in the unlikely event that Plaintiffs obtain claims from the patent-in-suit following reexamination and appeals.” EveryMD claims it offered to sell the patent-in-suit to Facebook in 2011, but Facebook “ignored the offer and [chose] instead to hire teams of high-priced lawyers to attempt to steamroll EveryMD in the courts.” EveryMD wrote that “Facebook’s actions have left EveryMD no choice but to seek enforcement of its rights directly with Facebook’s commercial customers,” and offered a “limited-time reduced-price licensing program” in January 2012 that would allow Facebook business account holders to purchase a license to the patent-in-suit for $500 per account. That offer has since expired and this marks the beginning of EveryMD’s threatened campaign against Facebook’s commercial customers.