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Saved by Alice: How a Key Supreme Court Decision Protects Businesses from Bad Patents

As Seen in EFF

In 2014’s Alice v. CLS Bank, the Supreme Court ruled that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. Since then, Alice has provided a lifeline for real businesses threatened or sued with bogus patents.

This week, on the third anniversary of Alice, EFF is launching a new series called Saved by Alice where we’ll collect these stories of times when Alice came to the rescue. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories of business owners large and small.

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The Patent Troll and the Scavenger Hunt

As Seen in EFF

Ken Cooper runs a small business out of his home. Unfortunately Ken’s business was not so small that it avoided the notice of a patent troll.

Ken has been writing code since 1973. His life in programming has ranged from small personal projects to founding a software company that was acquired by Microsoft. Today he runs a company called Coopercode. The company’s main project is a mobile scavenger hunt app for the iPhone and iPad called Klikaklu. Ken created the app to do scavenger hunts with his kids. It ended up being featured by Apple as a ‘New and Notable’ app and became popular with teachers. The app has been used at conferences, college orientations, and institutions like the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. What began as a hobby project turned into a real business.

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Past News

NAR sues Data Distribution Technologies over patent controversy

As Seen In Inman.com

Two can play the lawsuit game, and the National Association of Realtors just dealt itself in. On June 8, NAR filed a civil complaint against Data Distribution Technologies (DDT) requesting that its patent on a “remotely updated database system” be declared invalid and unenforceable by the U.S. District Court.

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Why patent trolls won’t give up

My experiences while on the “dark side” profoundly shaped my view on the role that Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), or patent trolls, play in the tech industry. The struggle between PAEs and companies that produce and sell products is not as stark or binary as “light and dark,” or “good and evil,” but the fact remains that PAE litigation does more harm than good. The tech industry is fertile ground for PAE litigation, with its many patents, plentiful companies and an increasing global reliance on technology. PAEs have no incentive to stop unless we in tech work together to stand up against them.

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