Friday, July 11, 2014

Court Dismisses Case against Wal-Mart Stores over Search Techniques

Case Filed: Jun 08, 2013
Case Closed: Jul 08, 2014
Court: Delaware District Court
Judge: Gregory M. Sleet
Case Summary:
New York-based patent-licensing company, Smart Search Concepts filed a patent infringement suit targeting the retail store Wal-Mart, accusing them of infringing 3 U.S. patents covering database access and search methods. The other defendant in the suit was: Sam's West, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart.
The patents involved in the suit were:
  • US7188100 entitled ‘Search-on-the-fly report generator,’ issued Mar 06, 2007 and expires* by Aug 24, 2021
  • US7302423 entitled ‘Search-on-the-fly with merge function,’ issue on Nov 27, 2007 and expires* by Feb 25, 2020
  • US7574432 entitled ‘Search-on-the-fly/sort-on-the-fly search engine,’ issued on Aug 11, 2009 and expires* by Jun 21, 2024
Smart Search is the current assignee+ of the patents (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database). The patents describe search-on-the-fly data retrieval for accessing or searching databases, allowing user to obtain information about data in the database. Search-on-the-fly can be a search engine or part of a search engine or may also stand alone or make calls to a search engine.
As in Complaint:
Smart Search alleged that Wal-Mart, without license or authorization, infringed the '100, ‘423 and ‘432 patents by making, using, offering for sale, and/or selling products or services that search a database on-the-fly after receiving a database query, generate a defined query, access a database and generate a search result. These search features are included in Wal-Mart’s website, as per the complaint.
Smart Search said it was entitled to compensation for the retailer’s past infringement and for any infringement that continued from the filing of the complaint along with reimbursement for its attorneys’ fees.
Case Conclusion:
Stipulation of dismissal was filed by Smart Search and accordingly court ordered claims to be dismissed with prejudice with each party bearing its own costs and expenses, thereby ending the litigation.
Other Cases Filed:
Since 2013, Smart Search has filed 9 cases against Nordstrom, Gap, JC Penney, etc. claiming the same search-on-the-fly method and most cases are closed.
See 1:13-cv-01042 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.
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* Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents.

+ MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded.

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