From Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng, on why they went to court over a patent on the “shopping cart” feature of their e-commerce site:
We basically took a look at this situation and said, “This is bullshit.”
I’d say that this pithy comment is both legally and technically precise. And good for Newegg for fighting this out to the bitter end. Amazon and other e-retailers had already caved in to the patent troll who was extorting them over this. Also: good for the appellate judge who ruled that the patents in question were invalid on grounds of obviousness.
My only regret is that Newegg was forced to rely for its defense on the fact that CompuServe had some prior art for something called the “CompuServe Mall.” That shouldn’t have been necessary. This case should have been thrown out with extreme prejudice no matter who had done what before. There are just a limited number of ways of doing stuff like this, and a combination of product IDs, database entries, and cryptography hardly counts as an inspired invention.
This whole thing was ridiculous but, unfortunately, all too typical. It’s a perfect example of why it’s time to ditch software patents completely.