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Internet Giants Face Action Over E-Mail Patent

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

31 August 2007


It has emerged that internet giants, Amazon, AOL, Ask,.com, Borders, Google and Yahoo! are facing legal action over their alleged infringement of a patent owned by Polaris IP, an intellectual property holding company.

The disputed patent concerns:

"A method for automatically interpreting an electronic message, including the steps of (a) receiving the electronic message from a source; (b) interpreting the electronic message using a rule base and case base knowledge engine; and (c) classifying the electronic message as at least one of (i) being able to be responded to automatically; and (ii) requiring assistance from a human operator. The method for automatically interpreting an electronic message may also include the step of retrieving one or more predetermined responses corresponding to the interpretation of the electronic message from a repository for automatic delivery to the source."

The suit was filed by Polaris in the Eastern District of Texas - a court which tends to favour patent owners - in what is being viewed by some observers as 'forum shopping'.

Although exact details regarding the ways in which each firm allegedly infringes the Polaris patent have not yet been released, their mechanisms for the automatic routing of e-mail messages are what is to be studied in the lawsuit.

This is not the first time that Polaris has accused technology and other firms of infringing patent no. 6,411,947, with software firm Oracle having been among its previous targets.


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