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Monday, August 12, 2013

EFF Claimed War on Patent Trolls

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has recently issued a statement, saying that it was leading a group of entities and law schools to start a new online resource called Trolling Effects. The idea is to crowd source information, including demand letters, in order to help people fight patent trolls.

According to EFF activist Adi Kamdar, patent trolls should no longer manage to hide under a cloak of legal darkness. The new service is expected to shine a light on entities which abuse the patent system to shake down innovators. The problem is that patent trolls use the threat of expensive and lengthy patent litigation in order to extort settlements from innovators of any size. However, most of these threats never evolve into lawsuits, so most of the threatening letters never show up in public dockets.

The new service is going to provide transparency and allow recipients of demand letters to publish the documents on the Internet, find letters received by other victims, and find out who is really behind the threats. The website also offers comprehensive guides to the patent system as well as a blueprint for patent reform. The third parties, including journalists, academics, and policy makers, may also find the website a very useful resource for researching the patent system.

EFF confirms that there was a difference between a company which asserts their patents in attempt to protect a product and a company which does this solely to extort money via threats of litigation. There is always a chance that the claim you have received is fully legitimate, so Trolling Effects can come in handy – users will be able to search its database by sender or patent number in order to find out whether there have been any claims similar to theirs. At the moment, trolls tend to distribute their patents among a network of shell companies to make it hard to track who owns what. 


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