LinkedIn Sued For Patent Infringement

On Friday in the District of Delaware, plaintiff eBuddy Technologies B.V. filed a complaint against LinkedIn Corporation for patent infringement alleging that LinkedIn infringed the patents-in-suit through its contact aggregation and event notifications.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 8,510,395 (the ’395 patent); 9,584,453 (the ’453 patent); 8,230,135 (the ’135 patent); and 8,402,179 (the ’179 patent). According to the complaint, the ’395 and ’453 patents describe “contact aggregation between different messaging services” and the ’135 and ’179 patents describe “event notification.”

The ’395 patent generally comprises an “arrangement of communications between networks of messaging service providers, including to login in or facilitate login to a network including to aggregate contacts into a contacts database that is a technical improvement to the communications between the devices and web services…” The plaintiff asserted that LinkedIn infringed this technology and method.

For example, claim 1 of the ’395 patent describes “a system…wherein, in operation, the contact aggregation engine: controls the network login engine to login or facilitate login to a first network associated with a first messaging service provider and a second network associated with a second messaging service provider, updates the networks contacts database with contact information obtained from the first messaging service provider and the second messaging service provider, maintains an aggregated contact list…[and] stores the aggregated contact list in a non-transitory computer readable medium at the web server, and provides the aggregated contact list to a display device.’” Thus, the user is able to log into another network to import his contacts to LinkedIn to create an aggregate contact list.

Additionally, claim 7 of the ’395 patent covers “a method comprising ‘joining a high level network; joining a first low level network associated with a first messaging service provider and a second low level network associated with a second messaging service provider; obtaining a first contact list associated with the first messaging service provider; obtaining a second contact list associated with the second messaging service provider; maintaining an aggregated contact list that comprises the first contact list and the second contact list; logging into the high level network; displaying the aggregated contact list.’” As a result, a user is able to import and sync contacts from other services to create one contact list.  

Accordingly, LinkedIn has purportedly infringed at least claims 1 and 7 of the ’395 patent by utilizing the patented “systems and methods for obtaining and aggregating contact information from a plurality of messaging services providers via LinkedIn’s LinkedIn Application system.” Specifically, eBuddy Technologies averred that LinkedIn’s system comprise the components described in the ’395 patent, while also using the technology described in the patent. Moreover, the plaintiff claimed that the “LinkedIn Application permits a user to join multiple networks associated with respective messaging service providers which interact with, inter alia, APIs of LinkedIn and the other networks.” LinkedIn users can import and sync contacts from various sources, such as phone contacts and a variety of email platforms, which is then allegedly used “for aggregating, maintaining, and displaying” on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allegedly displays these contacts and allows a user to connect with said contacts on LinkedIn and to message these contacts on LinkedIn. According to the plaintiff, LinkedIn allows “the user to login to a number of different networks, and the user may further connect said network to the user’s LinkedIn account, which interacts with APIs of LinkedIn and these other networks and redirects the user to these other networks for signing in.” More specifically, “The LinkedIn Application comprises a contact aggregation engine coupled to the network login engine and the network contacts database. For example, the LinkedIn Application comprises the LinkedIn Contacts Manager which permits LinkedIn’s servers to aggregate the user’s contacts and is coupled to the LinkedIn login engine and to the storage medium comprising the user’s LinkedIn contacts.” Consequently, these aggregated contact lists from other sources and LinkedIn are imported, synced and stored on LinkedIn.

The plaintiff has sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an award for damages, a permanent injunction, an award for costs and fees, and other relief.

eBuddy Technologies is represented by Farnan LLP and Edmonds & Schlather PLLC.