Four Net companies sued over transaction system patent

Google, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft face patent violation charge

For the second time in five weeks, four major Internet companies are being sued for patent infringement lawsuit.

This time, Austin-based Performance Pricing is suing Google, AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft in federal court for infringing on its transaction system patent.

Filed last week in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, the lawsuit alleges the four companies continue to use Performance Pricing's patented technology "in methods and systems that they make, use, sell and offer to sell" without the company's permission. The US patent is number 6,978,253, "Systems and Methods for Transacting Business Over a Global Communications Network such as the Internet." The company said the patent was issued on December 20, 2005.

Performance Pricing, which wants a jury trial, is asking the court to order the Internet companies to stop using the technology. It is also asking for unspecified monetary damages.

Google spokesman Jon Murchinson said the company "believes the claims to be without merit and will vigorously defend against them." A Microsoft spokesman said it has not yet received notice of the lawsuit and that it would be premature to comment. Spokespersons from Yahoo and AOL could not be reached for comment at deadline.

In August, Marshall, Texas-based Polaris IP sued Google, Yahoo, AOL, Amazon.com, Borders Group and IAC/InteractiveCorp for allegedly violating its e-mail filtering patent. That lawsuit was filed in the same court as Performance Pricing's lawsuit.

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