EFF Stupid Patent of the Month Series

EFF shames our patent system with its ‘Stupid Patent of the Month’ series

By on August 5, 2014 at 8:15 PM.

EFF shames our patent system with its ‘Stupid Patent of the Month’ series

In its bid to change patent law to effectively protect useful inventions and prevent trolls from taking advantage of the system, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has initiated a somewhat humorous “Stupid Patent of the Month” series in which it plans to shame the current patent system. More →

No Comments
German court dismisses patent troll lawsuit

Court rejects patent troll’s $2.2 billion lawsuit against Apple

By on February 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM.

Court rejects patent troll’s $2.2 billion lawsuit against Apple

A German court dismissed a lawsuit against Apple on Friday that was brought on by a well-known patent troll. IPCom, a company that licenses patents, wanted $2.2 billion in damages for infringement of a feature that is now an industry standard. A similar case against HTC was also dismissed. More →

No Comments
Congress Patent Reform Support

The government is finally gearing up to squash patent trolls

By on February 25, 2014 at 8:45 PM.

The government is finally gearing up to squash patent trolls

42 state Attorneys General on Monday sent a letter to ranking members of Congress showing support for patent reform against patent trolls. The Attorneys General letter uses the term “troll” no less than six times in the letter to describe companies or individuals that would attack companies with “dubious claims of patent infringement and using the threat of expensive litigation to extort money,” thus harming the economy and stifling innovation in the process. The letter proposes several amendments that would make it easier for Attorneys General to fight against patent trolling, in light of recent patent-based trolls attacks that have targeted thousands of businesses and non-profits.  More →

No Comments
Patent Troll vs. Federal Government

One patent troll refuses to quit, sues federal government

By on January 15, 2014 at 3:15 PM.

One patent troll refuses to quit, sues federal government

Despite recent legislation designed to stop them in their tracks, patent trolls are still fighting for relevancy in the United States. Ars Technica reports that one of the most infamous patent trolls in the country, MPHJ Technology Investments, is suing the federal government for infringing on its “constitutional right” to send thousands of disruptive, deceptive letters to small businesses, threatening them with legal action if they refuse to “pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker.” More →

No Comments
Anti-Patent Troll Legislation Passes House

Anti-patent troll bill passes U.S. House with huge majority

By on December 5, 2013 at 8:30 PM.

Anti-patent troll bill passes U.S. House with huge majority

Patent trolls are so widely disliked that they’ve actually inspired Congress to do something to crack down on them. The Washington Post reports that the United States House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Innovation Act by a margin of 325 to 91, a huge win for legislation aimed at reining in purportedly frivolous tech patent lawsuits. More →

No Comments
Anti-Patent Troll Legislation

The one thing that can unite all Americans: Hatred of patent trolls

By on October 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM.

The one thing that can unite all Americans: Hatred of patent trolls

Patent trolls are so widely despised that they might actually spur Congress to get something useful accomplished. Ars Technica reports that a bipartisan group of lawmakers has cobbled together a series of proposals aimed at hobbling patent trolls’ ability to extract rents from legitimate businesses. Among other things, Ars says that their proposed legislation “would require patent holders to lay out details about their infringement case early in a lawsuit, and would require the loser of a patent suit to pay legal fees unless they could show that the case was ‘substantially justified.’” The proposal has gained enthusiastic endorsements from not only tech companies that have been targeted by patent trolls but from digital rights activists such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge. More →

No Comments
Patent Troll Lobbying Group

Patent trolls may have found a way to make everyone hate them even more

By on October 4, 2013 at 10:45 PM.

Patent trolls may have found a way to make everyone hate them even more

Although patent trolls are already one of the least liked groups in the United States, they may have found a way to make themselves even more loathsome in the eyes of the public by doubling as government lobbyists. Politico reports that Intellectual Ventures, one of America’s largest patent-assertion entities, is investing in lobbying help to protect its interests on Capitol Hill by pushing back against legislation designed to curb patent trolls’ ability to extract rents from other companies. Unnamed sources also tell Politico that “several patent-assertion entities are trying to create their own advocacy group to give them a larger voice in Washington, although its prospects are unclear.” “Patent trolls” is an informal term for firms whose sole business is acquiring patents and using them to sue other companies even though they don’t actually produce any products based on the patented technology.

No Comments
FTC Patent Troll Investigation

FTC plans major investigation on patent trolls

By on June 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM.

FTC plans major investigation on patent trolls

Patent trolls’ carefree days of easy money might soon be over. The New York Times reports that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to launch a formal investigation into the practices of patent holding firms that buy up patents to use as weapons in intellectual property lawsuits despite the fact that they don’t make any actual products of their own. The Times says that FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez will ask the commission “to approve an inquiry that will include the issuance of subpoenas to companies that are known as patent-assertion entities” that will force the firms “to answer questions about how they conduct their operations, including whether they coordinate their lawsuits with other patent holders and if they funnel proceeds from lawsuits and patent licenses back to the original patent owner.”

No Comments
Anti-Patent Troll Legislation Criticism

White House proposals to fight patent trolls called laughably inadequate

By on June 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

White House proposals to fight patent trolls called laughably inadequate

Much like spammers, Satanists and mimes, patent trolls are one of the rare groups around that Americans of all political stripes can unite in opposing. But although the White House on Tuesday announced some executive orders and proposed some legislative fixes to help end the flurry of lawsuits filed by patent holding firms, Quartz’s Christopher Mims thinks that such proposals are laughably inadequate and don’t go nearly far enough in addressing the real problems with the United States patent system. More →

No Comments
Obama Patent Trolls

Obama hopes to put an end to patent trolls with new executive orders

By on June 4, 2013 at 9:55 AM.

Obama hopes to put an end to patent trolls with new executive orders

It is going to become more difficult for patent-holding firms, more commonly known as patent trolls, to harass American companies. According to The Wall Street Journal, President Barack Obama will soon announce new laws for patenting technology in the United States. The president is expected to announce five executive actions that will look to end costly lawsuits brought on by patent trolls and propose seven legislative changes to be examined by Congress. More →

No Comments
Patent Case Rulings Analysis

Recent rulings show tide may be turning against patent trolls

By on May 24, 2013 at 12:01 AM.

Recent rulings show tide may be turning against patent trolls

Patent trolls’ days of effortlessly rolling into court and collecting licensing fees for products they don’t produce may be coming to an end. The Washington Post reports that courts have been increasingly citing the landmark 1978 Supreme Court case Parker v. Flook, which is the strongest ruling that the court has ever made against patents for abstract ideas such as algorithms. Given that courts are applying the Parker v. Flook precedent more often in software patent cases, it seems that courts are starting to reassert control over what can and cannot be patented. The Post acknowledges that “not every citation of Flook means that a patent was invalidated” but says that “it’s at least a sign that the courts are wrestling with the limits the high court articulated more than three decades ago.”

No Comments
Vermont Patent Troll Lawsuit

Vermont puts foot down on patent troll that targeted charities

By on May 22, 2013 at 8:40 PM.

Vermont puts foot down on patent troll that targeted charities

Earlier this year we learned about a patent holding firm that came up with a novel way of making money by threatening to sue small businesses that allegedly infringed upon its scanner technology patents by using scanners in their offices. Yes, you read that correctly: An entity called “Project Paperless LLC” really has been sending out letters to small and medium-sized businesses demanding licensing fees for using office scanners capable of sending PDFs via email. Ars Technica has now provided us with an update to this story and has found that Project Paperless is just one of roughly 40 shell entities owned by a company called MPHJ Technologies that’s been sending threatening letters out to small businesses demanding that they pay $1,000 per employee for the right to use office scanners. More →

No Comments
Cisco Patent Troll Suit

Cisco’s attempts to sue patent trolls over ‘shakedowns’ go bust

By on February 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM.

Cisco’s attempts to sue patent trolls over ‘shakedowns’ go bust

It seems that Cisco’s (CSCO) efforts to hit back at patent trolls have hit a potentially fatal roadblock. Although the networking equipment vendor last year decided to go on offense against firms that buy patents in bulk and sue other companies for infringement despite not making any products of their own, the Wall Street Journal reports that a federal court has shot down one of Cisco’s first major attempts to go after an alleged patent troll. According to the Journal, U.S. District Judge James F. Holderman this week “that the aggressive licensing strategy used by [patent holding firm] Innovatio IP Ventures LLC against Cisco customers is protected by the U.S. Constitution.” More →

No Comments