The company representing a patent speculator who has been pursuing small commercial websites has called off its pursuit.
Lawrence Lockwood was granted an e-commerce patent in 2001, USPTO No. 6,289,319, for a "Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System" which was wide-ranging enough to potentially ensnare ATM manufacturers too. A company called PanIP was founded last year to pursue Lockwood's patent, and fifty small e-commerce operations found themselves facing claims of up to $30,000.
A statement by a group of the defendents at their website says that PanIP has dropped its claims. None of the small businesses targeted too out a license, according to the PanIP Group Defense Fund.
Lockwood had previously been granted a patent for an "Automated sales and services system", which he used to sue the SABRE airline reservation system. Both patents are under review by the USPTO. The Office recently struck down Eolas patent for embedded objects in web pages, but only after the university spin-off was awarded over $500 million in damages from Microsoft, money that Redmond doesn't now have to pay. ®