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 Daniel Adrian Sanchez
As Seen In Digital Music News
Almost nothing is known about Venadium LLC other than an address that appear on court documents. Search engine results only turn up other large companies Venadium has sued, with exactly similar filing dates, making it likely that Venadium is only a company created to sue on the basis of a vague patent claim. These companies often earn the dubious award of being known as “patent trolls,” of which Venadium may qualify within frustrated tech circles. The Eastern District of Texas is a well-known breeding ground and lawsuit haven for dubious, ‘patent troll’ type cases, with an 88% win for plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits, compared to a nationwide average of 68% (at least back in 2006).
By Nick Skillicorn
As Seen In Inc
I want to get this out of the way right now. Because it’s the most depressing part of the patent system, and is actually hurting small companies trying to build innovative new businesses. The problem is that the system allows companies to get patents to which they are not actually entitled. And then use those patents to sue other companies who are actually working in that space! These companies are called “Patent Trolls”. They are usually shell corporations, that either file for a whole host of incredibly vague patents under the hope that some of them will be approved, or by buying up other vague patents. They then use these vague, fraudulent patents to sue companies which are small enough to not be able to defend themselves, or companies who will just want to settle immediately.