There has been a lot in the news lately about “patent trolls,” which is a term that has been used to describe patent assertion entities. These companies solely exist in order to go after other companies for licensing fees for patent infringement. While there have been a few law changes in the last few years that have somewhat limited a bit of the reach of these patent companies, they are still trying to gather millions of dollars in licensing fees.
One business founder has decided to fight back against Lumen View Technologies, though. Kevin O’Connor, who sold Double Click to search engine giant Google, has committed $1 million in order to defend FindTheBest.com against such a lawsuit. Lumen View sent the company a letter, demanding $85,000 in licensing fees for a patent violation or it would sue. A lawsuit soon followed when the licensing fees wasn’t paid.
Attorneys for FindTheBest.com spoke with the inventor who held the patent. That conversation apparently didn’t go very well, according to court documents. Afterwards, lawyers for Lumen View called lawyers for FindTheBest.com. They accused O’Connor of a hate crime because he allegedly said the inventor was a “patent troll,” and said they were going to have criminal charges filed against him if FindTheBest.com didn’t pony up a settlement before the day ended. O’Connor didn’t do it. Instead, pleadings were filed that FindTheBest.com intended to fight the lawsuit and they also registered a complaint against Lumen View under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act).
O’Connor has the finances to be able to fight the lawsuit in court; however, many smaller businesses do not have this luxury. They simply pay the licensing fees because fighting a patent infringement case is expensive and time-consuming. It takes an attorney who specializes in patent law and all of the battles are waged in federal court. This type of business law issue is difficult for smaller business to fight. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this case.
pacbiztimes.com, “Tech exec puts up $1M to fight patent trolls” Stephen Nellis, Sep. 27, 2013