Some startups know they've arrived when a tech giant offers to purchase them for exorbitant amounts of cash. Others come of age with an initial public offering. For Foursquare, the rite of passage comes in the form of patent infringement litigation.
Foursquare Labs, Inc., the company behind the popular check-in service, has been slapped with its first patent infringement lawsuit by a company called Mobile Commerce Framework.
Writer Robin Wauters called the latter company a patent troll, noting:
Funnily enough, it looks like the company was simply named after the title of the patent-in-suit-how's that for creativity?
MCF argues that Foursquare violates its patent covering "a subscription-based method for presenting merchant information to a mobile device" because it creates mobile apps that allow users to search for merchant information based on location.
For its part, Foursquare told TechCrunch it will "vigorously defend itself" against what it sees as a "meritless" suit.
I have to agree with Wauters, who says:
I hope MCF isn't just looking to score a precedent so they can start targeting more companies.
If that's the case, we'll be seeing a lot more cases like this one-or at least threats thereof.