Snapchat Sued Over Geofilter Tech

Pixmarx IP has filed suit against Snap Inc., which operates media app Snapchat, for patent infringement. The patents at issue, according to the complaint, allowing taking and “enhancing digital photographs” to occur within one app. Pixmarx alleges that Snapchat used the information in its patents to introduce its geofilters in 2014.

Snapchat’s geofilters are “design overlays that are added on top of a photograph and that are specific to a particular location.” Piximarx alleged that Snap both directly and indirectly infringes and it induces Snapchat users to infringe the patents-in-suit. Additionally, Pixmarx created its own app in 2016 allowing users to “ADD GEOFRAMES TO YOUR PHOTOS.” Piximarx stated that Snap was notified about its infringement, however, the social media company allegedly continues to infringe despite this notification. Specifically, Snapchat’s filters and lenses supposedly infringe upon plaintiff’s patents.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,477,689, 9,792,662, 10,102,601 , and 10,489,873.  Each of the patents are entitled “Embedding Digital Content Within a Digital Photograph During Capture of the Digital Photograph.”

Pixmarx claimed, among other allegations, that Snapchat infringes claims 1-16 of the ’601 patent. Claim 1 states “displaying visual content captured in real-time by the digital imaging device on the image viewing structure in combination with the selected one or more embeddable content images.” Snapchat allegedly shows the image that has been photographed in real-time on a user’s smart device, along with embeddable content, such as a filter, including a geofilter, and different lenses. These filters and lenses can be applied directly over and to the captured image. Pixmarx declares that this infringes its patent by using the patented embeddable content and overlay technology described in the patents-in-suit.

Pixmarx has sought declaratory judgment of the defendant’s infringement, an award for costs and damages, an award for royalties, pre- and post-judgment interest, an award for attorney’s cost and fees, and other relief as determined by the court.

The suit is filed in the Northern District of Texas. Piximarx is represented by Nelson Bumgardner Albritton.