Musicians and artists often talk about their inspirations, but that’s apparently not a requirement for inventors filing patents at the Patent and Trademark Office, according to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
In a lawsuit between IPDEV Co. and Ameranth Inc. over whose online pizza ordering system patents came first, Ameranth argued that IPDEV’s patent is unenforceable because it withheld pertinent information from the PTO during the patent application phase. Specifically, IPDEV failed to tell the examiner that its invention was inspired by the 1995 movie “The Net.”
“The Net,” is a movie from the early days of the consumer-focused internet, starring Sandra Bullock. She plays computer consultant Angela Bennett, who stumbles upon a nefarious internet-related plot, and, after several twists, finds that her life has been erased from the net.
Before the fireworks start, the audience gets a glimpse of Bennett’s reclusive lifestyle, which involves conducting most of her life online. That includes ordering pizza from pizza.net, which by 1995 standards, was quite a visionary idea. The listed inventors on the IPDEV patent, Bryant Cupps and Tim Glass, apparently thought so as well, but didn’t think it was necessary to tell the PTO.
Still, that wasn’t enough to kill the patent, and the dispute between IPDEV and Ameranth continues.
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