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01.16.18

Patent Trolls (Euphemised as “Public IP Companies”) Are Dying in the United States, But the Trouble Isn’t Over

Posted in America, Patents at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The infinite power

Summary: The demise of various types of patent trolls, including publicly-traded trolls, is good news; but we take stock of the latest developments in order to better assess the remaining threat

“Intellectual property [sic] is often the most valuable asset of a startup business,” says a site of lawyers. On Friday they actually published an article titled “What Startups With Lean Budgets Can Do to Protect Their IP”. They don’t quite specify if by “IP” they mean brands, copyrights (e.g. of code), or patents. There’s a paywall. Maybe patents of patent trolls is what they had in mind because virtually no startup actually relies on patents. Startups create compelling services and products.

It is a big problem when startups, even ones which used to have real products, turn into something like PersonalWeb (borderline patent troll, a pseudo-practising entity). PersonalWeb, which we wrote about 6 years ago, is at it again; it’s just suing everyone and Law 360 had a repord about the latest lawsuit a few days ago. To quote:

FanDuel Inc. on Thursday became the latest company hit with a cloud computing patent suit by software developer PersonalWeb Technologies LLC, which in recent days has sued dozens of others, including Airbnb Inc., Blue Apron Inc., Venmo and Reddit.

The developer’s New York federal lawsuit alleges that the way the fantasy sports giant populates its website in real time infringes five different PersonalWeb patents related to cloud computing. Its patented technology, PersonalWeb alleges, allows internet users to have the most up-to-date data at their fingertips.

Sadly, there’s a growing ‘industry’ of litigation; it creates nothing but pain. Those who dare speak about it are immediately attacked by people like Nick Gross, who is groomed by the patent troll Dominion Harbor. On the same day we wrote about him he also joined these trolls on a show [1, 2] (they are habitually defaming me on their show). It certainly seem like they have nothing left but hate mail and defamation. They’re accustomed to bullying.

The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) now complains that it’s getting harder to be a troll in the US. Dominion Harbor agrees.

“In what remains a tough market for PIPCOs,” IAM said, “Inventergy is well and truly back in the assertion game as it launches a new #patent infringement suit in California”

IAM also said that “Inventergy has just agreed a debt refinancing structured with interest rates of between 8% & 17%, plus profit share. Ouch. Says a lot about PIPCO market these days.”

Let’s hope that patent trolls will all go extinct rather soon. Their “business model” needs to be crushed. Here is what IAM wrote in its blog the other day:

It looks like the public IP company (PIPCO) Inventergy, which went through a recent major restructuring that saw it hand control of a huge portfolio to debt provider Fortress, has reappeared on the assertion scene, filing a suit in the Central District of California against a company called GPS Monitoring Solutions. The patent at the centre of the case was part of a June 2016 deal which saw Inventergy obtain the exclusive rights to license or sell three assets owned by a company called GTX Corp. The PIPCO, headed by former senior HP IP executive Joe Beyers, announced a year ago that it had launched a licensing campaign for the patents, which relate to GPS tracking.

They will attempt to lobby the government. They can afford lobbying. McKool Smith, which represents patent trolls, has just hired (i.e. will pay a salary to) the former ITC Commissioner. Revolving doors much?

Meanwhile, CNBC is writing puff pieces for a notorious patent troll (several of these lately). This week it does one for Amazon. The patent troll in question is stockpiling blockchain patents (and sending me death wishes). IAM says that “Bank of America and IBM lead on blockchain patents” (remember that IBM is a patent bully and trolls harvest these patents). To quote a portion:

As the fluctuating bitcoin market has everyone talking, new research has thrown light on which companies are the leading filers of patents related to blockchain, the technology which underpins the world’s best known cryptocurrency, but whose application could extend to multiple different sectors. Among the leaders are the giant financial institutions Bank of America (which takes the top spot with 43 patents) and Fidelity (which boasts 14 grants), payments leader Mastercard (joint second with 27) and, by far the leading tech player, IBM (another sharing second with 27 patents).

It’s perhaps not surprising that the biggest financial institutions dominate the list of largest blockchain patent owners, but according to the research by Envision IP it is start-ups and other companies focused on developing applications for the technology that have the edge on Wall Street and the largest tech players. Envision claims that these specialists own 59% of the US patents and published applications in the sector, comfortably ahead of financial institutions which have 20% of grants and filings and up on the traditional technology sector which owns around 13%. The digital currency exchange Coinbase leads the way among the specialists with 13 patents followed by the likes of Monegraph, Digital Asset Holdings and SKUChain Inc.

More and more of these patents will likely have no ‘muscle’; They would be deemed invalid under Alice/Section 101 if tested in courts. If used in bulk, however, invaliding all of them would prove more costly than settling.

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