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01.21.18

Unified Patents Says That RPX, Which Might Soon be Owned by Patent Trolls, Paid Patent Trolls Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Posted in America, Patents at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RPX (with Microsoft as its member) is a catalyst of trolls, not a solution to trolls

2017 Patent Dispute Report: Year in Review
Direct/source: [Unified Patents] 2017 Patent Dispute Report: Year in Review

Summary: Unified Patents, which helps crush software patents, takes note of RPX’s financial statements, which reveal the great extent to which RPX actually helped trolls rather than stop them

THE USPTO is polluted with software patents. Many got granted well before Alice, whose lifetime (so far) is about a sixth of the lifetime of most patents.

What does that mean? It means that we depend on PTAB to ‘re-examine’ (review/assess) lots of patents and invalidate them if they lack merit (as per Section 101).

The ‘mainstream’ approaches taken to tackle this software patents epidemic were fruitless. They were designed to fail — often designed and led by the likes of IBM (with a pile of its own patents to protect from scrutiny). As Bruce Perens shrewdly put it last year, the Linux Foundation is a GPL infringers’ club and the Open Invention Network (OIN) is supposed to protect patents from Linux rather than protect Linux from patents.

“As Bruce Perens shrewdly put it last year, the Linux Foundation is a GPL infringers’ club and the Open Invention Network (OIN) is supposed to protect patents from Linux rather than protect Linux from patents.”We have been consistently apprehensive if not critical of various groups like OIN and others who pool together patents in an effort to form a ‘shield’ (for those who can afford it), those who pay trolls to go away (crowdfunding in a sense), and Peer to Patent (now defunct on the face of it) which sought to crowdsource so as to gather evidence of prior art (OIN explored a similar method at one point). Those are not real solutions and many others have been attempts to simply co-exist with software patents (like Red Hat with its supposed patent promise, which would likely become meaningless if/when there’s a takeover of Red Hat).

Unified Patents is a little different. It exploits PTAB to go after bad patents. It’s similar to the EFF in that regard. It’s another approach which is to actually invalidate the patents in question. The latest target? It looks like PTAB is about to throw away another bogus US patent, this time a patent of Iron Oak Technologies, which is a patent troll. 5 days ago Unified Patents wrote:

On January 15, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 5,966,658 owned and asserted by Iron Oak Technologies, LLC, a well-known NPE. The ’658 patent, directed to a “system where a communication path can be automatically selected from a plurality of communication paths based on an attribute,” has been asserted against mobile communication companies such as Dell, Huawei, ZTE, Acer and Samsung.

A day later Unified Patents published “Unified Patents: Quantum Stream patent determined to be likely invalid,” revealing that patent troll Vringo is another target (with various ‘masks’ or renames):

On January 16, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,047,626, owned and asserted by Quantum Stream, Inc., a subsidiary of Form Holdings Corp. (f/k/a Vringo, Inc.) and well-known NPE. The ’626 Patent, directed to systems for delivering content, such as a digital video program, to a user device, has been asserted in multiple district court cases against companies such as Cablevision, Directv, and Charter Communications.

In the latest update from Unified Patents (published yesterday) it says that RPX has literally paid patent trolls “hundreds of millions according to their financial statements” and it might soon be owned by a troll. To quote:

Unified has independently challenged every single prolific NPE at least once. (Unified filings). Studies have found, consistent with Unified’s experience and research, that prolific plaintiffs are very often NPEs asserting lower quality patents. This creates a vicious cycle of litigation and settlements which depresses the value of truly innovative patents and unnecessarily saps the resources of all companies. That is why Unified never pays NPEs.

RPX, another 3rd party, has paid NPEs hundreds of millions according to their financial statements and independently filed against only 3 of them. (RPX filings).

We did not see the financial statements and this is definitely news. It’s also rather alarming to learn that RPX actively funded or fueled these parasites; it’s like paying scammers, merely emboldening them to scam yet more people. It’s a big no-no.

We have long argued that RPX was itself acting like a bit of a troll and that it was profiting from the abundance of troll lawsuits (creating a toxic environment that helped it add members).

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