New York State joins U.S. Congress, tech companies like Apple in war against patent trolls

“The list of those waging battle with so-called patent trolls already includes big technology companies, Congress and the White House,” Ashby Jones reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Now, New York’s attorney general is joining that group.”

“Eric T. Schneiderman, New York state’s top prosecutor, has reached a civil settlement with Delaware patent firm MPHJ Technology Investments LLC, barring it from using what he called deceptive tactics to get New York businesses to pay for patent licenses, according to the agreement,” Jones reports. “The settlement applies only to MPHJ and New York state. But the attorney general intends to apply the agreement’s terms to other firms that buy up patents and seek to make money from them through licensing and litigation.”

“Over the past year, the White House, the Federal Trade Commission and several other state attorneys general have taken measures to crack down on abusive behavior by some patent holders,” Jones reports. “Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require parties in patent cases to disclose more information and would give judges more discretion to order a plaintiff to pay the other side’s legal fees when a lawsuit fails. The bill has since moved to the Senate.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Patently Apple. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
U.S. House panel passes bill targeting ‘patent trolls’ – November 21, 2013
Apple Inc. a top target for patent trolls – August 29, 2013
Patent trolls have the smartphone industry in a state of emergency – August 10, 2012
New U.S. House ‘anti-troll’ bill would force patent trolls to pay defendants’ legal bills – August 2, 2012

13 Comments

    1. I wonder if the bill will be ratified by the Senate?
      If it is, then they will need to go the whole hog and not just give the judges the discretion of slapping the costs on a troll when they feel like it, all trolls who loose in court having dragged a poor business that was minding its own business into court should pay that business the costs it has incurred defending itself plus further costs that it has incurred in being unable to pursue its business as a result of having to be in court.
      That is the way it is in most European Countries, when will it be the de-facto method for fairness in the states?

        1. Are you offering credit for spelling? He typed 118 words and got them all right.

          Our comments are replete with grammatical errors and misspellings.

          But, you found that mistake in a sentence teeming with errors. His second sentence is the longest run-on sentence I’ve ever read, but you drew the line at “loose”?

          You should check everyone’s comments and hand out grades.

          1. Thanks to ricdonato, G4Dualie and Derek Currie.
            I appreciate your concern for the well being of my spelling ability. Next time my emotions overwhelm me pertaining to a subject that I fell strongly about, I will get a grip on my spelling because your sentiments will be echoing in my mind.
            Special mention to G4Dualie! I am impressed 🙂

  1. Who’s to say whose the Troll?

    Google just spent 3-billion acquiring Nest and with it, a lot of patents for the purposes of creating revenue through encroachment.

    How is Google, or Apple, or Microsoft any different than your run of the mill patent troll? From where I sit, it looks to be the size of your piggy bank.

    1. People would probably consider me “pro-patent troll” in some ways.. If patents are legally acquirable IP, why can’t someone purchase it and then sue infringers?

      But to answer your direct question, the companies you mention are actually making products THAT THEY SELL (not from every single patent of course), and often end up suing only when someone ELSE infringes on their patents, and they settle with a patent licensing agreement.

      1. Having had a chat with a famous submarine patent troll, the one who held back e- flickering 3D glasses for over a decade through his lawsuits:

        A lot of patent trolls go scrounging through current patents that aren’t active seeking out those they can conceivably use to sue others using remotely similar inventions. The guy I talked to wanted to scour Kodak’s brain, aka me that day, for every tiny bit of information about 3D viewing technology. This was circa 1995. He wanted ammunition for a lawsuit against a company working on similar 3D glasses. IOW: He was being a parasite. Because of his actions, as well as others, the US patent system was changed and laws enacted to stop the practice in the future. You can read about the guy, Mr. Lemelson, and submarine patents here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_patent

        But obviously, there are still ways to parasitize others via the current patent system.

      2. You are a troll.

        Google bought Moto and its treasure trove of patents in the hope of turning the tables on Apple’s iPhone. Didn’t work.

        The Appellate court rejected Google’s trolling and I say they should be held up as an example of a corporate troll.

    2. Simplest way is add a clause to the law, that the patent holder must be able to demonstrate their patent in action to the court and show how the defendant’s product violates that patent.

      We also need to have special patent courts that consolidate patent review and infringement claims.

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