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08.06.17

TC Heartland Puts Patent Trolls and the Eastern District of Texas in a Straitjacket, But EFF Wants Transparency Too

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wenger

Summary: Even though the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has dealt a massive blow to patent trolls, some trolls continue to infest Texas and the EFF is pursuing “Public Access To Patent Litigation” (public hearing in 9 days in the Eastern District of Texas)

THE Eastern District of Texas was severely hurt by a decision from SCOTUS earlier this summer (TC Heartland). This decision may mean that fewer trolls will be capable of operating, at least in Texas. Without these Texan judges (some of whom became notorious and slammed by US politicians), the trolls will certainly struggle.

Uniloc, however, has just filed another lawsuit in Texas. Will Apple manage to move this lawsuit out of Texas? As Apple Insider put it 4 days ago:

Lodged with the patent holder friendly U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Uniloc’s favorite venue for attacks against Apple, the suit alleges Apple’s software is in infringement of a single patent reassigned by 3Com.

Yes, “patent reassigned by 3Com.” Uniloc makes virtually nothing. We wrote dozens of articles about this troll over the years. The USPTO allows patents to be reassigned to trolls and some people out there rightly assert that no such (re)assignments should be allowed at all. In other words, only an inventor who has something to offer in the market should be allowed to litigate. Wouldn’t that be beneficial to the economy?

Looking at IAM’s latest nonsense, last week they wrote about “patent monetisation”, SEPs/FRAND and so-called “patent investment”. This is not “patent investment”, it’s patent extortion or a trolling operation that is connected to Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll.

Watch how IAM put it:

Dominion was behind one of the patent deals of the year when it picked up around 4000 former Kodak assets from Intellectual Ventures and so it has a pretty good take on both what assets are out there but also what sort of licensing appetite there is for large scale portfolios. Earlier this week I caught up with Dominion Harbor CEO David Pridham to hear a little more about how the deal came about and their plans for monetising any assets they acquire.

As we said before, the trolling ‘industry’ may have been slowed down by TC Heartland, but it’s also evolving. It’s trying to find new ways to exploit the system. We last touched the subject a few days ago.

Thankfully, the EFF has been committed to the fight against trolls (more so than the fight against software patents, which trolls so heavily rely on). It’s finally tackling the subject of patent litigation transparency, which helps the public understand who is going what (trolls prefer to operate clandestinely). Here is what the EFF published last week:

Did one Stupid Patent of the Month winner enforce its patent in an exceptional manner, so much so that it has to pay defendants’ attorneys’ fees? That is a question a court in the Eastern District of Texas is being asked to decide, with a public hearing on the matter scheduled for August 15, 2017.

We’d like to tell you why the defendants think they should win, but unfortunately we can’t. We’d also like to tell you why the patent owner, My Health Inc., thinks the defendants should lose, but again we can’t. The facts, law, and the parties’ arguments were filed completely under seal.

Well, what good is justice if the public cannot see to assure it’s real justice (and study the culprits)? The above too mentioned the Eastern District of Texas (where a lot of the trolling is concentrated).

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