A Virginia firm is accusing Durham LED maker Cree of infringing on four patents, and is asking for “a reasonable royalty” to be awarded in court. But this time it’s not a competitor filing suit in federal court, it’s Bluestone Innovations LLC, a patent licensing and enforcement company often categorized as a “patent troll.”
In the five years since it began its work — a result of the America Invents Act of 2011 — the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has saved companies more than $2 billion in legal fees alone, according to Joshua Landau, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, offering an expeditious and relatively cheap avenue to challenge patents of doubtful validity.
The benefits of stopping bad patents from snaking their way through the economy have been even greater.
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Our nation’s patent system has been in need of serious reform for many years. So-called “patent trolls” — entities that don’t actually make or sell anything but that instead buy patent licenses merely to extort settlements — have become a serious drain on our economy. According to one study, patent trolls and their frivolous lawsuits cost our country nearly $80 billion per year.
When you buy a house, it’s nice to know where the local schools are, where the closest park is, where a nearby grocery is. So realtors commonly embed tools on their websites to show you a map of these “points of interest” in the area around a house for sale.
Unsurprisingly, using technology leads to non-practicing entities suing the realtors. In this case, a pair of Texas-based realtors.