A ridiculously overbroad patent issued to a ‘Warren Sandvick’ back in 2002 is being used to stymie the nacent teledildonics virtual sex industry according to reports out today. Most of the 6 companies being sued don’t even have products on the market yet, and thus with no profits have little means to defend themselves in court.
Patent trolls are so prolific these days that you don’t really need to be successful to draw lawsuits. Case in point, a recently formed California company called TZU Technologies is demanding cash from six different players in the “virtual sex” industry—which barely even exists.
TZU is using US Patent No. 6,368,268 to sue six companies working in the touch-over-Internet arena: Comingle, Holland Haptics, Vibease, Internet Service, Frixion, and Winzz.
The patent was invented by Warren Sandvick, president of a Texas company called HasSex, which has an extremely trollish website and licensed the patent several times. Filed in 1998, and granted in 2002, the patent lays broad claim to a remotely controlled sexual “stimulation system,” one version of which involved a “second user interface” located remotely from the first.
This year, Sandvick apparently sold the patent to TZU, which has bigger plans for the patent. Earlier this week, TZU filed six lawsuits.