Expedia Moves to Dismiss Priceline Patent Suit

Claiming that priceline.com Inc. may
not own the patent it is fighting to protect, Microsoft’s Expedia, Inc. travel service this week
attempted to dismiss the lawsuit priceline filed against it in October.

Priceline (PCLN), which operates the patented “name-your-own-price” travel service, filed a lawsuit in October in federal court alleging that Expedia (EXPE)
too closely resembles its system and accused Microsoft (MSFT)
of stealing priceline’s commerce system technology and related elements. It
is seeking declaratory relief, permanent injunctive relief and actual and
punitive damages.

The patent in question, #5,794,207, is also reportedly owned by Marketel
International Inc., information priceline did not originally disclose,
according to Microsoft. Because of that, Microsoft and Expedia moved to
dismiss the case in light of “priceline’s failure to join a legally indispensable party to the case.”

“Considering that Marketel International claims ownership of the ‘207
patent, priceline’s case against Expedia and Microsoft should be
dismissed,” said Byron Bishop, vice president of
product development, Expedia Inc.

“Add to that other claims against the
patent such as that of Aden
Enterprises and it is clear that there are serious questions
surrounding Priceline’s lawsuit.”

“We remain ready to show that
priceline’s claims are without merit and that the Expedia Price Matcher
services do not infringe the ‘207 patent. However, before we can do
that, the fundamental question of the ownership of the disputed patent needs
to be resolved.”

Marketel sued priceline over the priceline patent in January 1999, asserting
an ownership
interest.

Priceline could not be reached for comment.

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