Cloud Computing Patent Suit Claims Latest Victim: FanDuel
On January 11, 2018, PersonalWeb Technologies, LLC sued FanDuel, Inc. for infringing five of PersonalWeb’s cloud computing patents. Cloud computing, also known as “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources in everything from applications to data center, sent over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.
In the complaint, PersonalWeb alleges that FanDuel’s website uses PersonalWeb’s patented material for the manufacture, use, sale, importation, offer of services, and the distribution of its webpage content. More specifically, PersonalWeb claims that FanDuel illegally uses: (1) a system of locating a particular data item at a location in a data processing system; (2) a system in which a plurality of files are distributed across a plurality of computers; (3) a system comprising hardware including at least a processor, and software, in combination with said hardware; (4) a system of determining a particular digital key for the particular file; and (5) a system to determine one or more content-dependent digital identifiers.
FanDuel is just one of several dozen companies, including Reddit, Airbnb Inc., and Venmo that have been hit with similar suits. “Cloud computing is often quoted as one of the most significant innovations that will revolutionize the technology industry.” With vast amounts of digital data spread across large networks, today’s companies seek solutions to manage their data and many turn to cloud computing. However, cloud computing is a complex technology and it is difficult to determine when one technology overlaps another. Therefore, for companies, it is challenging to control or determine when cloud computing services used by the company infringes already patented cloud computing inventions.
To prevent potential lawsuits, some companies are filing for patent protection of their own cloud computing technology, while other companies are utilizing the already patented filed technologies sold by other companies. “A recent study confirms that the number of cloud computing patent transactions quadrupled between 2012 and 2016.” However, within that same period, U.S. patent litigation surrounding cloud computing technologies has increased by over 700 percent. This trend is likely to continue as more and more companies turn to cloud computing to manage their digital data.