Amazon Among Numerous Companies Sued For Patent Infringement

Last week, Express Mobile, Inc., a company “in the business of developing mobile application and web design and creation platforms,” filed numerous complaints for patent infringement against Amazon, Pinterest, Adobe, and  Oath Holdings doing business as Verizon Media Group and formerly known as Yahoo!, claiming that the defendants in their respective suits infringed the plaintiff’s patents-in-suit relating to content display on a device.

For example, Amazon has allegedly infringed United States Patent Nos. 6,546,397, 9,063,755 (the ’755 patent), 9,471,287, and 9,928,044. According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s “invention enables defining the webpage as a collection of user settings, storing information related to those settings in a database, and then later using that information to render a webpage … The result is not a collection of computer code, but instead a group of user-selected objects and settings describing the final webpage,” which can be stored in a database.

The complaint explained that Amazon allows third-party retailers to sell goods through its website. In particular, the plaintiff stated that Amazon provides numerous options for third-party retailers to customize their presence on Amazon and create custom “digital storefronts” where consumers can make purchases. The complaint claimed Amazon’s “‘store builder’ tool that allows retailers to create custom Amazon storefronts by selecting certain settings from menus … with user-selectable settings that control the format and positioning of ‘tiles’ that display the store’s available products,” infringed on the plaintiff’s patent.

The tool reportedly shows a “real-time preview of the finished site” and stores settings controlling the appearance of the store front, which are retrieved when a consumer causes the page to render.  Additionally, according to the plaintiff, Amazon advertises that no coding experience is needed in order to create a storefront on Amazon.

Specifically, the plaintiff asserted that the ’755 patent “resolves technical problems related to generating and distributing dynamic content on a device display, such as the display of a mobile device.” Accordingly, the patent “features a computer memory and an authoring tool or Player configured to define a User Interface (‘UI’) object for display on the device, where the defined UI object corresponds to a web component and where each UI object is either: (1) selected by a user or (2) automatically selected by the system as a preferred UI object corresponding to a symbolic name of the web component.” Consequently, the plaintiff noted that the ’755 patent allows for a “What You See Is What You Get” environment, but also a device-independent code, and a Player.

Moreover, Express Mobile claimed that Amazon uses this patented technology because its stores can be viewed using these various modalities, thus impacting the generation of content display on a device. In particular, Amazon was accused of infringing claim 23 of the’755 patent. 

Furthermore, the plaintiff proffered that Amazon’s website and store building tools infringe its patented system, allowing for display on a variety of devices, on web servers, allegedly utilizing “device – and platform- dependent code from Amazon web server” as well as “device-independent code.” As a result, Express Mobile averred that Amazon has infringed this patent and the other patents-in-suit. Express Mobile sought an adjudication that the defendants have infringed the asserted patents, an award for damages, and other costs. 

Express Mobile is represented by Gross & Klein LLP and MoloLamken LLP.