In recent years, American companies have faced a growing threat from patent assertion entities derisively called “patent trolls.” These often shadowy firms make money by threatening patent lawsuits rather than creating useful products. A recent study suggests that the roots of the patent trolling problem may lie with the US Patent and Trademark office—specifically with patent examiners who fail to thoroughly vet patent applications before approving them.
Playsaurus, a small Los Angeles-based game studio that makes Clicker Heroes and the upcoming Clicker Heroes 2, has recently been threatened with a lawsuit if it doesn’t pay $35,000 for a patent licensing fee to cover a patent for “electronic tokens.”
In a Thursday blog post, the CEO of Playsaurus wrote that the company that sent him the letter, GTX Corporation, is a “patent troll.” CEO Thomas Wolfley called GTX’s demands to avoid “costly litigation” over Playsaurus’ use of electronic “Rubies” in its games “meritless.”
As Seen on TheNewspaper.com
A federal judge slammed the door on a notorious patent troll on Friday. Joao Control and Monitoring Systems LLC, a firm with no customers or products, in 2013 filed a patent infringement suit against the photo enforcement system run by American Traffic Solutions (ATS). Joao claimed the patent it held for video security webcams required any company that monitored a video feed over the Internet to pay royalties.
By Roberta Hurley, Owner of Southeastern Employment Services
As Seen in The Hill
My organization, Southeastern Employment Services, helps people with disabilities find employment opportunities in the state of Connecticut. Several years ago, I started receiving threatening legal letters from shell companies in Delaware that claimed we were infringing their patent for using the scan-to-email function on our copier – a common technology found on many such machines in offices around the country. I’m proud of the work that we do to give back to our state and its citizens, but as a result of these threats I thought I would have to close my doors for good.