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09.02.17

Kaspersky Labs Showed How to Battle Software Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Patents at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Like Newegg and few other companies that crushed patent trolls (even at a high expense), Kaspersky refuses to pay ‘protection’ money and instead demands ‘protection’ money

THE US patent system has long encouraged the rise of patent trolls. Patent trolls are dependent on software patents; that is all they need. The cost has been huge. As Dave Lane recalled yesterday: “Here’s the reference for that claim #softwarepatents have cost the US $500 billion over the past decade.”

More here: “It’s almost as if software patents haven’t cost the US half a $trillion in the past decade or so. Some dumb just can’t be fixed.”

Thankfully, after Alice, more patent trolls are walking away or never bother suing at all. They walk away at a high cost sometimes, as we last showed before the weekend, citing Kaspersky's epic move.

This was covered by TechDirt on the same day. To quote:

We’ve talked a lot over the years about the importance of standing up to patent trolls. Newegg, famously, has its “Never Settle” mantra for dealing with patent trolls. And we covered the case of Fark’s Drew Curtis, a few years back, who simply refused to give in when a patent troll tried to shake him down. Part of that standing firm was that when he eventually “settled” the case, he demanded that he be allowed to reveal that the settlement was for $0 (usually trolls require a gag clause on settlements to avoid anyone finding out what happened). But it appears Kaspersky Labs has taken this up a notch.

Two years ago, we wrote about the patent troll with the somewhat on-the-nose name of Wetro Lan (get it? “we trollin’”) that was threatening lots of companies. One company it went after was Kaspersky Labs, which it eventually sued in East Texas (naturally). Things didn’t quite go according to Wetro Lan’s plan. As Joe Mullin at Ars Technica explains, by the end of the case, Wetro Lan had to pay Kaspersky to get the company to agree to let the case die.

It’s almost like ‘manual’; it shows how to ‘blackmail’ patent trolls, turning the tables on them. As British media has just put it:

“it’s not just any old victory; it’s truly a landmark one. Indeed, our shooing off Wetro Lan with its tail between its legs will go down in the annals of patent law as a crucial precedent, since no one before has ever secured a victory like we just have: we not only forced the troll to withdraw its lawsuit; we also got it to pay us compensation!,” he said.

It seems possible that using PTAB IPRs one can accomplish the same thing. When all the trolls have is a bunch of patents (or just one patent) there’s nothing they fear more than losing these patents.

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