Merchants Offering Customized Products Online Sued for Patent Infringement

Aug. 26, 2010

Nearly 30 merchants were sued by Quark Images LLC of Longview, Texas, which claims its two patents for a method of creating customized branded merchandise online have been infringed. Most of the defendants offer custom created merchandise such as Mars Inc.’s M&M candies, on which customers can have any message or photo printed, or Nike Inc., which offers custom-designed athletic shoes through its NikeID program. Serverside Group Ltd., a New York company that offers digital customization services for the credit card industry, was sued for allegedly selling software that enables consumers to create branded and customized credit cards online. Other defendants include Zion Bancorporation, BMW, and Hallmark Cards Inc. Both patents were originally issued to Jones Soda Co., a Seattle-based company that offers customers of its fruit-flavored soft drinks to buy six-packs with personalized labels. In a 2010 regulatory filing, the company said it intended “to explore potential licensing arrangements with third parties to commercialize this patented methodology and defend against patent violations.”