The importance of the US Patent Office’s “inter partes review” (IPR) process was highlighted in dramatic fashion yesterday. Patent appeals judges threw out a patent [PDF] that was used to sue more than 80 companies in the fitness, wearables, and health industries.
Trying to succeed as a startup is hard enough. Getting a frivolous patent infringement demand letter in the mail can make it a whole lot harder. The experience of San Francisco-based Motiv is the latest example of how patent trolls impose painful costs on small startups and stifle innovation.
By Senator Richard Ross
As Seen in The Wayland Patch
The now mainstream act of “patent trolling” is a growing threat to small businesses not only in Massachusetts, but across the United States. These acts are carried out by non-practicing entities, or NPEs, and have gone from a low-profile to conventional issue in less than ten years. Too often, NPEs fraudulently threaten patent infringement litigation, or worse, actually file a patent infringement lawsuit. This is a true threat to the business community and to honest entrepreneurial efforts.
By Ruth Simon and Loretta Chao
As Seen in The Wall Street Journal
Like almost every online retailer, Spice Jungle LLC emails tracking numbers to customers when they place orders. That’s why the small firm was dumbfounded when it received a demand to pay $25,000 for the right to do so… Spice Jungle is among more than 100 mostly small companies sued in 2016 by Shipping & Transit, whose litigiousness makes it the largest filer of patent lawsuits in the U.S. this year, according to legal analytics firm Lex Machina. The number of businesses affected by Shipping & Transit’s actions is likely even larger, because this count doesn’t include those that paid quickly to avoid a lawsuit.