Zillow, Redfin, ESPN, Spotify, and more sued
Zillow and 19 others have been sued in rapid succession by Texas company, Guyzar, LLC for allegations of violating their patent for keeping user sessions after a user has logged in, according to court documents. The suit points to Zillow’s “Connect With” feature as using the patent, which appears to point to the company’s “Tech Connect” wherein Zillow data can be sent to Realtor CRMs or other third party services.
Patent #5845070 (referred to in the suit as ‘070), filed in 1996 and awarded in 1998, was recently bought by Guyzar and a flurry of lawsuits have already gone down since the September 2015 acquisition. These suits are being filed in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Texas, which is traditionally where patent trolls file their suits; a big red flag for those following patent cases.
All signs point to a new patent troll in the wild
Papers were filed yesterday against Zillow, and when we reached out to the Plaintiff’s lawyers in Puerto Rico, we learned that their representation was unavailable, and out of the country traveling. We have also emailed for comment but have received silence.
Guyzar’s LLC was formed just months before being assigned the patent, and every tech expert we interviewed believes this to be a classic patent troll case.
Thousands more could be sued, maybe even you
But this particular patent is generic enough that it could have a widespread impact in the tech industry, and theoretically any site that uses OAuth could be targeted by Guyzar, and likely will.
So far, they’ve filed lawsuits against:
- Answers.com Corporation
- BuzzFeed, Inc.
- CBS Interactive, Inc. d/b/a CNET
- Ebates, Inc.
- ESPN, Inc.
- Fandango Media, LLC
- HSN, Inc.
- Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC d/b/a latimes.com
- Poshmark Inc.
- Redfin Corporation
- RetailMeNot, Inc.
- Rhapsody International, Inc.
- Spotify USA, Inc.
- The Priceline Group, Inc. d/b/a Kayak.com
- The Television Food Network GP
- The Weather Channel, LLC
- TripAdvisor, Inc.
- TripAdvisor LLC
- World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
- WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post
- Zillow Group, Inc.
We anticipate that while the legal team traipses around the globe, east Texas will see hundreds, if not thousands of lawsuits filed regarding patent ‘070. Watch for any company of size to be served by Guyzar – from Facebook to Google, from Enterprise Rental to Amazon.
And if your website uses any sort of login (be it OAuth or otherwise) and stores user data, they may decide to come after you, too.