“It’s a shame that our patent system allows corporations to act like patent trolls – buying patents and imposing egregious litigation costs on startups who have independently developed real technology. "
San Francisco, California (PRWEB) May 02, 2013
Online eyewear retailer, DITTO.com, announced today that it will defend itself against a patent infringement lawsuit filed by a competitor who is using a recently purchased patent to seek an injunction on DITTO’s 3D virtual try-on technology for eyewear. The lawsuit (Case No. 2:13-cv-00145) was filed in the District of Utah by 1-800-Contacts, whose division Glasses.com, directly competes with DITTO for online sales of designer prescription glasses and sunglasses. 1-800-Contacts is a division of managed care giant, WellPoint.
Jonathan Coon, cofounder and CEO of 1-800-Contacts, tried DITTO's virtual fitting technology soon after the launch of DITTO’s website in April 2012. Soon thereafter, in May 2012, 1-800-Contacts moved to acquire rights to a patent, which they are now using to sue DITTO (Case No. 2:13-cv-00145).
DITTO has garnered the support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights advocacy group based in San Francisco, which beats back bad litigation and champions the public interest in critical battles affecting digital rights. EFF has asked asked their followers to help DITTO by crowdsourcing prior art.
According to DITTO's motion to dimiss, it states that 1-800-Contacts has a history of filing patent and trademark infringement lawsuits in federal court against competitors like DITTO. For a few recent examples, see, e.g., 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Watchdog Group, LC d/b/a/ Lensalert!, 2:11-cv-00130-TS (D. Utah, filed Feb. 1, 2011); 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Web Eye Care, 2:10-cv-00770-DAK (D. Utah, filed Aug. 10, 2010); 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Standard Optical Company, 2:10-cv-463-PMW (D. Utah, filed July 13, 2010); 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Contact Lens King, Inc., 2:10-cv-00205-DAK (D. Utah, filed March 8, 2010); 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Empire Vision Center, Inc., d/b/a Lens123, 2:10-cv- 00173-DAK (D. Utah, filed Feb. 25, 2010); 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Arlington Contact Lens Service, Inc., d/b/a Discount Contact Lenses, 2:10-cv-131 (D. Utah, filed Feb. 18, 2010); 1-800- Contacts, Inc. v. Lensfast LLC, 2:08-cv-00984-DAK (D. Utah, filed Dec. 23, 2008).
“I’m so proud of my team and the incredible 3D virtual try-on technology we have built from scratch,” says DITTO CEO and Cofounder, Kate Endress. “The incredible feedback from customers has made our hard work well worth it. However, in light of this lawsuit, we are forced to spend our limited resources paying lawyers instead of creating new jobs and growing our business.”
DITTO is an online retailer selling a wide collection of the top designer glasses and sunglasses. Based in San Francisco, DITTO uses proprietary technology to let shoppers create a “DITTO”, a video of themself from their webcam to virtually try on glasses in 180-degree views. The glasses are scaled accurately so customers can see how glasses fit on their unique face shape. Customers can also share their DITTO to get feedback from friends or ask a stylist for a personalized recommendation. DITTO offers free shipping, free 90-day returns, and a 2-year warranty.