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Bodog files for patent reexamination

14 Mar 2008

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Bodog, the digital entertainment enterprise based in Antigua, which has been dragged into the collection efforts of 1st Technology in respect of their default judgment granted against a former domain management supplier, announced today that it has filed a petition for reexamination of patent No. 5,564,001, the patent at issue in that case with Data Entry and Domain Management S.A. (Civil Action No. 2:06-cv-01110-RLH-GWF). The filing of such a request will not stop the harassment of Bodog. Even in the highly unlikely event that the patent emerges from the reexamination unscathed, if at all, it may not invalidate the default judgment that is currently in place against the above-noted defendant. So, why do it?

"1st Technology and its founder, Scott Lewis, have preyed on our industry and others long enough," says Bodog founder Calvin Ayre. "They count on organizations being forced to make the assessment of whether fighting a patent claim will cost more than to simply settle it. They say their patents are valid. They say their claims are legitimate. Well, it's time to prove it."

A patent reexamination is a process in which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is advised of the existence of "prior art" that raises a "substantial new question of patentability". "Prior art" simply means public information that may impact an assessment of whether the patented invention was valid. Since a patent is only properly granted when an invention is genuinely novel and unobvious, if invalidating prior art exists, then a patent granted with respect to that invention is not valid. True inventors with legitimate patents have absolutely nothing to fear from a petition for reexamination.

"We have communicated repeatedly that the Bodog business is simply not the entity against whom 1st Technology has secured its judgment," says Mr. Ayre. "Through what was essentially inadvertence, Bodog did not transfer the registrations out of this supplier when the supplier ceased doing business. That was Bodog's oversight and it cost the business those domains; however, the harassment continues, as 1st Technology intentionally uses the subpoena process to hound and attempt to intimidate suppliers and business partners."

The petition filed in respect of the No. 5,564,001 patent may not stop this harassment, but at least it will require that the patent be tested before it can be used as a weapon against others. Court records suggest that Scott Lewis and his related "licensing" companies currently have pending litigation against Playtech, Parlay Entertainment, Tiltware, Electronic Arts, Viacom, Microsoft, Betcorp, Giga Media, Harmonic Systems, Grand Virtual, Cambridge Interactive Development, Ultranet Internet Media, Lasseters, Leisure and Gaming, IQ-Ludorum, and Kolyma. The number of outstanding demand letters threatening litigation that may be on the desks and minds of other businesses is unknown.

"We intend to review every patent being used by 'licensors' that abuse the patent system in the guise of representing legitimate inventors," says Mr. Ayre. "Through no fault of its own, the USPTO is under-funded and overwhelmed and we have the resources to support the research into whether these patents should have been issued in the first place. We intend to fund and seek reexamination after reexamination of invalid patents, and we encourage others that have received demand letters offering to 'license' these technologies under threat of litigation to join us. Acting independently, the 'settlement math' almost always favors the aggressor, but together we can turn the hunters into the hunted."

 
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