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Court Throws Out Patent Troll Claim Against Factual: US Patent Office Renders Patent Covering Location-Based Mobile Functionality Invalid

Los Angeles, CA - April 21, 2016 - Factual, the neutral data company that makes data accessible to everyone, today announced that it has successfully defended itself against patent infringement claims by Locata LBS LLC. Additionally, the US Patent office invalidated the asserted claims in the patent. Factual’s successful defense protects the company, its customers, and the entire mobile world from a baseless patent held by a patent troll.

On October 18, 2013, Locata LBS LLC, a California based Non-Practicing Entity, filed a lawsuit against Factual alleging that Factual was directly and indirectly infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,259,381. The patent lays claim to the triggering of an action on a roving device based on a predetermined location, or, in other words, a basic and obvious use of location on mobile devices. From car-sharing services that tell you when your car has arrived, to delivery notifications in the on-demand economy, to in-store messaging and coupons, and, of course, billions of dollars worth of location-targeted mobile ads, an increasing share of the mobile experience is at least in part predicated on location, and patents like these serve as a tax on innovation.

As important as the data itself is to innovation, it is meaningless without the ability to apply that data, and thus we viewed fighting this patent as an extension of our core mission.

Factual was offered the opportunity to settle a number of times, but the company refused, and fought the infringement case and the patent itself. Factual is a leader in making high quality location data accessible to mobile developers, advertisers and mobile advertising technology platforms, and Fortune 500 enterprises, and Factual’s victory not only protects the company, but also its customers and the entire mobile ecosystem from these now invalidated patent claims. The case was dismissed on February 4, 2016, in the Central District Court of California, and the asserted claims (claims 1-12) of the patent were invalidated by the United States Patent Office on December 17, 2015. Factual is now sharing the news and encourages others similarly facing egregious patent troll behavior to fight them as well.

“Factual’s mission is to make data accessible to everyone in order to drive innovation. As important as the data itself is to innovation, it is meaningless without the ability to apply that data, and thus we viewed fighting this patent as an extension of our core mission,” said Gil Elbaz, founder and CEO of Factual. “As far as I’m concerned, if I had paid even a dollar in settlement it would have been a dollar too much.”

According to data from Unified Patents, 2015 saw the most patent disputes in history, more than two-thirds of patent lawsuits were filed in the high-tech sector, and more than 88% of the high-tech cases involved non-practicing entities. The Consumer Technology Association notes that the average cost of a patent litigation lawsuit is between $1 million and $2 million, which is why it’s no surprise that 82% of patent troll victims in 2014 were small and medium sized businesses - businesses that would have a hard time funding a costly defense.

If enough companies fight these suits, we can collectively make it unprofitable to be a patent troll.

“We would have much preferred to invest the capital spent on this lawsuit - not to mention the countless hours of executive time - on further developing our data and technology,” Elbaz added. “I am fortunate that our investors and our financial position afforded us the ability to fight this. While it may be easier and cheaper for any individual company to settle, if enough companies fight these suits, we can collectively make it unprofitable to be a patent troll.”

Click here to read an op-ed by Gil on why fighting patent trolls is critical to promoting innovation.

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