An image depicting struggle over patent law.

Lovense Granted Patent for Tip-controlled Sex Toys

How will intellectual property rights affect the future of long-distance sex?

An image depicting struggle over patent law.

Last week, Lovense co-founders Eddy Olivares and Dan Liu received rights to a patent that covers the use of tip-controlled vibrators during interactive webcam shows.

Below is the abstract for the new patent, which is called “Interactive online entertainment system and method.”

Disclosed is a system and method for allowing one or more users to interact with models from a distance, for example, by enabling the users to tip the models during online video chat sessions, wherein the models can define tipping parameters to perform predefined acts, via an adult toy, based on the amount of tips received. The adult toy can be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth™ enabled to receive commands directly from the server via a web browser extension, the website hosting an online video chat session, or connect to an application installed on a device operated by the model, wherein the application communicates with the web browser extension to relay commands to the adult toy therefrom. In some embodiments, the browser extension or website can generate live control links to enable certain users have a live control of the model’s adult toy.

The first tip-controlled sex toys?

Lovense currently sells a range of interactive sex toys, including the male stroker Max and the vibrator Nora. Following a successful Indiegogo campaign this year, the sex tech company also plans to release a new bullet vibrator, g-spot device, wand, and prostate massager.

All Lovense devices are designed to integrate with cam sites, for example, Flirt4Free and Camsoda [NSFW], thanks to a browser extension. Using the extension, performers can decide which tip amounts will create different vibration or rotation intensities. Check out Lovense’s cam model page here for more information.

But cam models haven’t only been using Lovense sex toys to receive tips. Lux Alptraum previously reported in 2015 that cam models had been hacking sound-activated devices, such as OhMiBod’s Club Vibe 2.0 and Freestyle G, so that these sex toys would respond to the sounds made as a result of clients tipping. Each tip makes a noise, which then increases a vibrator’s intensity.

While the patent application was filed in April 2016, it’s unclear whether cam models’ prior tinkering with sex toys conflicts with Lovense’s claim of inventing tip-activated sex toys. It’s likely that cam companies not yet affiliated with Lovense will be asked to pay licensing fees or, potentially, damages.

Cam models who hack sex toys to respond to tipping could also face potential legal action or receive cease and desist letters. We’ve heard of sex workers being told to stop hacking sex toys to enable them for long-distance sex by a different patent holder.

We don’t normally cover webcamming at Future of Sex. However, this patent may prevent developers from entering into teledildonics because it presents another cost associated with the field. This may be the case if someone only wants to get into remote sex for the profits associated with webcamming. Sex tech patents have already been accused of stifling innovation. Is this one dealing another blow?

What do you think this new patent means for the future of remote sex? Share your comments below.

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