Support: 1-800-961-4454
Sales Chat
1-800-961-2888

Exposing Patent Trolls

2

We’ve said it before: it will take an army to battle patent trolls and inspire true patent reform.

And this week, our allies at the Electric Frontier Foundation (EFF) brought the fight to the masses with the launch of Trolling Effects, a resource for businesses and others who have been targeted by patent trolls. Trolling Effects is a user friendly website with a number of important features.  It lets users anonymously submit and search demand letters they’ve received from purported patent trolls; study them; learn ways to encourage Congress to fix the nation’s broken patent system; and, most importantly, it teaches users how to win.

“In the midst of a tidal wave of momentum in the fight against patent trolls, we’re proud to launch Trolling Effects (trollingeffects.org), a resource to empower would-be victims of patent trolls through a crowd-sourced database of patent demand letters and a clearinghouse for information on the troll epidemic,” wrote the EFF’s Adi Kamdar and Julie Samuels in a blog post introducing Trolling Effects. “The site allows demand letter recipients to post the documents online, find letters received by others, and research who is really behind such threats. The site also features comprehensive guides to the patent system and a blueprint for patent reform.”

A site like Trolling Effects is a major weapon in this fight. If it’s true that knowledge is power, then Trolling Effects is empowering everyone to change a broken system and expose the problem patent trolls pose to innovation and the US economy.

At Rackspace, we’re no stranger to this issue. It is our most pressing, and most expensive, legal challenge. A number of industry associations and organizations are also rallying around the cause. This fight needs outspoken advocates – and Trolling Effects will unleash a crowd-sourced battle cry to show we’re not going to take it anymore.

Trolling Effects will be a useful tool to spotlight this issue and expose the thinly veiled extortion attempts disguised as “invitations to license” which businesses and individuals receive from patent trolls every day. Typically, a patent troll sends a demand letter hoping for a swift financial settlement – knowing full well that most companies don’t have the cash to fight. What Trolling Effects wants to do is add some transparency to this process.

“A combination of trolls who send demand letters but rarely sue, scheming businesses that transfer patent ownership to shell companies, and poor record-keeping infrastructure and practices has resulted in a hazy patent system where the lack of transparency has become a competitive tool,” Kamdar and Samuels wrote. “We’ve created a simple tool that will take away one of the patent trolls favorite tools — secrecy.”

Trolling Effects seeks to gather information that is often kept secret and put it to use to inform the victims of patent troll threats and collect data for journalists, academics, policy makers and others to help them understand the scope of this problem.

I encourage anyone impacted by patent trolls to check out Trolling Effects. And if you’ve received a demand letter, submit it to the site. Trolling Effects adds a new and valuable resource for people to manage this pressing problem and gives us all a platform upon which we can work together to stop patent trolls dead in their tracks and inspire Congress to take up and pass real patent reform.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Alan Schoenbaum.

Alan Schoenbaum is Special Counsel for Rackspace.

Prior to joining Rackspace in 2005, he was a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in San Antonio, Texas. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions. Throughout his legal career he has represented public and private growth companies, venture capital funds and their portfolio companies. Alan received his B.A. in English and his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.


More
2 Comments

This is great.

I might also suggest a section of trollingeffects.org called something like “What We’ve Lost.” Meaning, a catalog companies that have shut down, people who have been unable to pursue ideas, expenses that have been passed on to consumers, etc. Use stories. Make it concrete. Clear. Poignant. Because, at the core, that’s what all of this is about. What we’ve lost and what we’ll continue to lose to these a**holes.

(I originally posted this on Hacker News, but thought it belonged here, as well.)

avatar Josh Knowles on August 8, 2013 | Reply

There is also a new site by stack exchange, created as a tool for beating patent trolls.

avatar Michael on August 8, 2013 | Reply

Leave a New Comment

(Required)


Racker Powered
©2014 Rackspace, US Inc.