In a recent filing, EveryMD LLC—perhaps best known for its (in)famous lawsuit against Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and approximately four million Facebook business account holders—is suing Facebook for allegedly infringing on its patent on its system for online communication that underlies its model for allowing patients to email doctors directly. According to the complaint, the patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 8,499,047, entitled “Method, apparatus and business system for online communication with online and offline recipients.”
According to the EveryMD.com website:
EveryMD’s Doctor E-Mailer service is a unique, free, patent-pending system that allows your office to receive online prescription refill requests and requests for scheduling appointments from patients on your office’s existing fax machine.
Specifically, EveryMD’s complaint alleges that the method by which Facebook generates “mask” email addresses in order to allow users to communicate with each other infringes on EveryMD’s patent.
I am not a patent attorney, so I will make no claim as to the merits of this case. It will be interesting to see how it develops.