EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Good News on the Patent Trolls Front as Collapse of Such Parasitic Firms Continues, US Government Signals Ongoing Reform

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KEEP CALM AND CRUSH PATENT TROLLSSummary: Judging by some of the latest news and developments, the crackdown on patent trolls is likely to continue this year and the Supreme Court is likely to crush the courts of the Eastern District of Texas

THE STRANGE WORLD of patent trolling has grown only in unpopularity and public disdain. I know people and companies that were personally and legally impacted by these. Thankfully, however, the USPTO took some steps towards tackling this plague, helped by courts including SCOTUS, which is likely to rule against the majority of patent trolls some time later this year.

Sites that speak for trolls (and are funded by some) are not particularly happy. We recently wrote about the RPX debacle and it turns out to be even worse than we thought. RPX is now headless and the head’s “departure, which was confirmed in a press release early yesterday morning, apparently came after a proposal he made to take the business private. According to the release, RPX’s board of directors “conducted a review of the company’s prospects and opportunities and disagrees with Mr Amster’s views on the matter”. Given that, Amster clearly had to go. As we also revealed last Friday, he has been replaced by general counsel Marty Roberts on an interim basis.”

“Sites that speak for trolls (and are funded by some) are not particularly happy.”RPX is not defensive, it’s a parasite or even a troll. It’s also supported by Microsoft, a notorious patent aggressor.

It sure looks like many trolls are rotting or dying these days. The father of patent trolling died a few months ago and shortly thereafter his own troll went under. We recently gave some more example of dead (or dying) patent trolls. They’re not publicly-traded entities, so it’s not easy to keep track of such things. Even the world’s largest patent troll, which is connected to Microsoft and was connected to the father of patent trolling, seems to be suffering a collapse (layoffs and founder heading outwards). Microsoft’s own in-house troll was recently decapitated and there too there are layoffs on the way.

“It sure looks like many trolls are rotting or dying these days.”Looking at IAM for some more troll news (they favour the trolls), it turns out that the IP strategist of American Express is quitting and in “IP Zone [he] will continue to make use of its online Virtual Intellectual Property Exchange (VIPEX) tool which IP owners can use to help manage the deal process.”

Sounds like a trolling operation, or a tool for armament of patent trolls. Will it take off? Hopefully not.

In another new post from IAM, which loves the trolling it sees in China, it is being shown that east Asia is quickly becoming a patent trolls hub, as many observers already warned before. Xilinx is now being targeted; its products helped me learn how to develop software at chip design level (I constructed a calculator in just a few days using gate-level design when I was 19).

“Microsoft’s own in-house troll was recently decapitated and there too there are layoffs on the way.”Is there anything that trolls won’t ruin and outright destroy? To quote IAM, “Japanese sovereign patent fund (SPF) manager IP Bridge launched its latest patent assertion campaign at the end of last month, suing fabless chipmaker Xilinx in the Eastern District of Texas.” (EDTX)

Now they do this in Beijing, Tokyo and even Guam. Horrible. We need to be aware of the impact this will have on ordinary people.

Earlier this week Professor Dennis Crouch offered his thoughts on Neil Gorsuch, who is likely to join SCOTUS soon (and will thus rule on patent trolls later in the year; see the aforementioned case). Crouch wrote: “I don’t know if my end-of-April prediction will hold true, but I do expect Neil Gorsuch to become a Justice on the United States Supreme Court. As a 10th Circuit Judge, Gorsuch never decided a patent case, but does have a handful of interesting IP cases.”

“Gorsuch is extremely young for this kind of role (Justice at SCOTUS).”That’s what we too noticed. He’s mostly a mystery when it comes to copyrights, patents etc. One has to wonder how much of a grasp he has in this area. If he is not experienced or properly educated, then patent maximalists will prey on his mind and turn him into another Rader. Gorsuch is extremely young for this kind of role (Justice at SCOTUS).

Writing about where companies stand on killing patent trolls, or at least putting an end to their venue of choice (EDTX), Crouch wrote this quick but detailed post the other day. “Just about everybody is weighing in on #SCOTUS case over #patent venue shopping,” one firm wrote about this. “Here’s an easy breakdown, w/links…”

“Professor Mark Lemley is fantastic and he barely has a conflict of interest, so we hope that SCOTUS will weigh his views accordingly.”“Without the Government Brief,” Crouch noted, “Mark Lemley’s brief (on behalf of 61 professors) may be seen as the most influential. However, I would suggest that the brief loses some amount of its “law professor” credibility by being so one-sided in its statutory construction.”

Professor Mark Lemley is fantastic and he barely has a conflict of interest, so we hope that SCOTUS will weigh his views accordingly. Here is the EFF writing about its own submission:

Supreme Court Must End Texas’ Grip on Patent Cases, Restore Fairness in Court Selection

Washington, D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Supreme Court to overturn a court decision that tilted the scales in favor of patent trolls by making it easier for them to venue shop and file lawsuits in certain courts.

Venue shopping, also called forum shopping, is an insidious practice whereby parties to a lawsuit look for courts with procedures favorable to their cases. Unfortunately, some courts have engaged in an even more insidious practice known as forum selling by actively encouraging patent lawsuits in their districts. For example, a court might adopt plaintiff-friendly procedures and policies that undermine the rights of defendants.

One such court is the Eastern District of Texas, a rural area with almost no manufacturing, research, or technology facilities, where more than one-third of all patent cases in the country were filed last year. That proportion is no accident: patent litigants flock to Texas because the court has put in place a host of procedures that make it difficult for defendants to terminate meritless cases early, while also speeding up the time it takes for cases to go to trial.

Matt Levy has not yet had much to say about it (the submissions, not the subject as a whole), but he wrote this:

Patent Reform Is Back on Congress’ Agenda

Here’s some good news from the House of Representatives.

Levy cites this: “Goodlatte Announces Agenda for 115th Congress” (Judiciary of the White House).

To quote: “We’ll also work on reforms to discourage abusive patent litigation and keep U.S. patent laws up to date. Collectively, these reforms will help alleviate the wasteful burden of unnecessarily expensive litigation costs, thereby freeing small businesses to flourish, unleash innovation, and create new jobs for Americans.”

“We have always been courteous and polite towards Michelle Lee. She did a good job.”So even after the election of Trump there seems to be will to sort things out. That’s an encouraging sign.

Watchtroll, in the mean time, having attacked the Director of the USPTO, “is [still] trying to drum up controversy over the possibility that she might remain,” according to Mike Masnick. We are gratified to see that other people have noticed this too.

Watchtroll, which is currently attacking Director Lee (Watchtroll authors have attacked Lee a lot, at least 4 times in just a fortnight [1, 2, 3, 4]), has become an embarrassment to the patent microcosm. It is very much eager to show its true colours and by extension this serves to alienate the Judiciary, the Office, etc. We have always been courteous and polite towards Michelle Lee. She did a good job. Also see Matt Levy's good words to Lee. Now contrast this with what Masnick wrote:

I recognize that many (especially regular Techdirt readers) will assume from the title above that the question is a rhetorical one in response to the latest craziness around a stupid trademark or awful patent. But, no, we mean that literally. You see, right before the Trump inauguration, it was widely reported that Michelle Lee would stay on as the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. That was undeniably good news. For all the complaints we have about the USPTO, Lee has done a fairly amazing job running that office, and seems to be one of the first Patent Office directors who actually understands how patents can do serious harm to innovation. Keeping her on would be a really good sign. After seeing the stories claiming that she was staying, we’d mostly moved on. However, Politico reporter Nancy Scola sent me down something of a rabbit hole after tweeting that it’s basically impossible to know who’s in charge of the Patent Office right now.


As for the PTO’s own website, Quinn rightly points out that its leadership page still lists out a number of other individuals who have announced resignations and are no longer there, but whose profiles are still on the website. The Commerce Department seems to be refusing to comment to anyone who asks (I’ve sent in my own question) and it’s quite unclear if Michelle Lee really is the director.

If you look through the fairly long list of articles by Quinn on the subject, it’s quite clear that he (as someone who is not a fan of Lee) is hoping that she’s been pushed out, and is trying to drum up controversy over the possibility that she might remain. But the lack of any clarity from anyone… is bizarre. Quinn’s most recent post on the subject notes that while no one seems willing to say who’s running things, Lee “continues to be seen” in the building. That would certainly support the theory that she’s staying.

We suppose that sooner or later, maybe within a number of weeks, Lee’s position will be confirmed, the Web site will be updated, and Lee will continue to make the patent system “Great Again”, rather than make litigation and/or trolls “Great Again”.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

    Links for the day

  2. TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

    A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

  3. PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent 'Industry' That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

    The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it's supporting sham deals (or "scams") and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

  4. The Patent 'Industry' is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn't Like the Decisions

    Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they're willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

  5. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent 'Industry' in the Process

    A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

  6. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  7. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  8. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  9. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  10. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  11. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  12. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  13. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  14. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  15. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  16. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  17. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  18. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  19. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

    Links for the day

  20. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

    Links for the day

  21. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  22. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  23. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

  24. Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

    South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

  25. EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

    Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

  26. Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as 'Nazis', Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

    Demonising one's opposition or framing it as "fascist" is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

  27. Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

    The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

  28. Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

    Links for the day

  29. EPO Patent 'Growth' Not Achieved But Demanded/Mandated by Battistelli, by Lowering Quality of Patents/Services

    Targets at the EPO are not actually reached but are being imposed by overzealous management which dries up all the work in a hurry in order to make examiners redundant and many European Patents worthless

  30. Doubt Over Independence of Judges at the EPO Clouds Reason in Deciding Regarding Patents on Life

    With the growing prospect of a Board of Appeal (BoA) having to decide on patentability of CRISPR 'innovation' (more like explanation/discovery), questions linger or persist about judges' ability to rule as they see fit rather than what some lunatic wants


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts