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Web Sites Sued Over Patents On Configuring Products

The suit against several large automotive and apparel companies says they are infringing on patents with the functions they provide customers on their Web sites.
A Wisconsin based limited liability corporation has filed a suit against several large automotive and apparel companies, claiming they are infringing on the firm's patent in functions they provide customers on their Web sites.

The suit by Taurus IP LLC was filed Aug. 27 in the U.S. District Court for Western Wisconsin. The suit claims that Hyundai Motor America, Reebok International Ltd., Puma North America, Puma AG Rudolph Dassler Sport, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., and Michelin North America, have been directly and indirectly infringing on a patent owned by Taurus by assignment.

The U.S. patent number 6,141,658 was issued in October 2000, and is entitled "Computer System and Method for Managing Sales Information."

The patent involves technology that Taurus claims allows those companies to provide functions on their Web sites that allow customers to custom configure products ordered via the portals.

According to court papers, Taurus claims its "suffered monetary damages" in an "amount not yet determined."

Calls by InformationWeek to the companies named as defendants in the case were not returned by press time.

An attorney representing Taurus in the suit would not comment on the case. He also would not provide information regarding Taurus or describe the company in any detail.