Featured News

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.


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.


Past News

Cloudflare, Sued by its First “Patent Troll,” Hits Back Hard

As Seen in ArsTechnica

Cloudflare, the Internet security company and content delivery network, was founded more than seven years ago but miraculously hadn’t ever been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit from a non-practicing entity (commonly referred to as a “patent troll”) until this March.

Rather than pay a nuisance settlement, Cloudflare is going all-out to fight Blackbird Technologies LLC, a company founded by two former big-firm lawyers that has amassed dozens of patents and filed more than 100 lawsuits. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says Blackbird is a classic “patent troll,” albeit one with a new, and potentially dangerous, twist on its business model.


What do Netflix, Kiwi Innovators and a Small Town in Texas Have in Common?

As Seen in Lexology

The short answer is patent trolls. The long answer is that using cloud computing to do business may get you sued by patent trolls in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Netflix being sued

In late 2016, Netflix introduced a new feature allowing users to download content from its servers onto a user’s device allowing them to watch content offline later. It took a mere two months for Netflix to get sued for patent infringement over its new feature. The plaintiff, a company called Blackbird Technologies claims they own a patent titled “method and system for supplying products from pre-stored digital data in response to demands transmitted via computer network”. The patent was filed in 2000. In simpler terms, it is a system used to process online orders for the delivery by mail of digital content burnt onto a CD or DVD.