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04.23.18

Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

Posted in America, IBM, Patents at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eye watching

Summary: A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

IT is no secret that the USPTO bred a generation of patent trolls and the causes are no mystery. Decades of shoddy patents on algorithms lead to that.

“Between 1990 and 2000,” the patent trolls’ lobby* (IAM) wrote on Monday, “a sophisticated IP strategy boosted annual patent licensing royalties at IBM by 3,300%. Learn the importance of IP strategy at our webinar with @PatSnap this Monday, April 25.”

I responded with: “IBM — the company that lays off all the ‘expensive’ staff and is lobbying for software patents like no other company — becoming like a patent troll over time…”

“Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).”Remember that IBM is nowadays feeding its patents to patent trolls like Finjan. IBM literally makes money by arming patent trolls (Microsoft does the same thing and it financially supports Finjan), whereas several groups like OIN or Unified Patents try hard to disarm trolls.

Remember the patent troll called “Red River Innovations” [sic]? Unified Patents put a bounty on its patent/s last month and Joe Mullin, who covered patent trolls for at least a decade (first in his blog, then in news sites like Ars Technica before joining the EFF), has just labeled its patent the “Stupid Patent of the Month”. Hours ago he wrote:

Online businesses—like businesses everywhere—are full of suggestions. If you order a burger, you might want fries with that. If you read Popular Science, you might like reading Popular Mechanics. Those kinds of suggestions are a very old part of commerce, and no one would seriously think it’s a patentable technology.

Except, apparently, for Red River Innovations LLC, a patent troll that believes its patents cover the idea of suggesting what people should read next. Red River filed a half-dozen lawsuits in East Texas throughout 2015 and 2016. Some of those lawsuits were against retailers like home improvement chain Menards, clothier Zumiez, and cookie retailer Ms. Fields. Those stores all got sued because they have search bars on their websites.

In some lawsuits, Red River claimed the use of a search bar infringed US Patent No. 7,958,138. For example, in a lawsuit against Zumiez, Red River claimed [PDF] that “after a request for electronic text through the search box located at www.zumiez.com, the Zumiez system automatically identifies and graphically presents additional reading material that is related to a concept within the requested electronic text, as described and claimed in the ’138 Patent.” In that case, the “reading material” is text like product listings for jackets or skateboard decks.

Unified Patents is already fighting back against this troll by targeting its patents. That’s all one can do about trolls, which cannot really be sued (no products to sue over).

Unified Patents uses PTAB to disarm another patent troll, one called “Bradium Technologies” [sic] — an obscure proxy or tentacle of General Patent. Patent Troll Tracker wrote about it a decade ago [1, 2] and so did we, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Robert Jain wrote about what they did yesterday:

On April 23, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,253,239 owned and asserted by Bradium Technologies, LLC, a General Patent subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’239 patent claims the concept of dividing large data sets of images (such as geographic imagery) into “image parcels” at varying levels of detail, allowing users to browse quickly online, and has been asserted in district court against Microsoft (Case No. 1:15-cv-00031).

Jain then added that “[o]n April 23, 2018, Wordlogic Corporation and Unified Patents Inc. filed a joint request to terminate the recently instituted IPR2017-01856 pursuant to settlement.”

We’ve mentioned Wordlogic several times before, e.g. earlier this year, eight years ago, and even a decade ago.
____
* On Monday it also propped up another patent parasite, this one from Taiwan (excerpt from the paywalled article below).

  • Taiwanese start-up widens assertion drive in the wake of 2017 Apple settlement

    At last week’s IPBC Taiwan conference, managing IP costs emerged as a key theme of conversation – with some suggesting that financial pressure could lead to more monetisation activity. One firm that has recently opted to go down the monetisation path is a small company called CyWee, which began life within the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). CyWee is evidently an operating company with business across wireless streaming, motion processing and facial tracking. According to a District of Delaware patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Google last Monday, CyWee was formed by two ITRI researchers in 2007…

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