April 15, 2021

Boom and fall of a troll of patents | Trends

Boom and fall of a troll of patents | Trends


Shipping & Transit LLC has died. He filed for bankruptcy at the end of last year. After a decade of litigation and more than 500 patent suits, this American firm left a miracle of biblical proportions for the annals of history. He did not transform water into wine, nor did he multiply loaves and fish: he basically converted a dollar into 15 million dollars.

The deceased company was a troll of patents of pure strain. Shipping & Transit LLC and its ilk are organizations that benefit from the rights associated with patents without selling or manufacturing the goods and services they describe. It is a business model that in the United States has reached up to 29,000 million dollars. In general, they earn their bread by buying patents and fighting for ownership of an idea they do not intend to make.

In 2016, the company in question became the leading US litigator in the field of patents. The most rowdy troll also boasted the dubious honor of priming mainly with small businesses. His modus operandi was simple: first sue and then reach agreements for amounts of less than $ 50,000. If the procedure went ahead, they withdrew the complaint. Such was its impact, that the Electronic Frontier Foundation wanted to dedicate its particular obituary with a posthumous appointment: stupid patent of the month.

Although the winner did not fit 100% in the definition of the award, the EFF took the opportunity to portray a problem that has been denouncing for years. "We agree that their patents are worthless, in fact they have always lacked value, in the hands of their immoral owners, they have caused enormous damage and cost more than 15 million dollars to productive companies, in addition to the countless expenses These are tens of millions of dollars that will not be used to invest in new products, reward shareholders or increase salaries, "the foundation said.

At the time of filing for bankruptcy, he had 34 patents in his possession. The same properties whose registry had been used in the trials that earned him more than $ 15 million in revenue appeared in his death certificate valued on a single dollar.

Black magic? Vericuetos. According to the EFF, the trick of trolls is the limited time that the patent office can devote to the examination of each new application: "Normally they grant software patents without considering any software of the real world". The specialty of Shipping & Transit LLC was the mediocre tracking systems. "Of course, they did not invent GPS systems or wireless communication protocols, their patents record mundane ways of using existing technologies."

The company, formerly known as Arrivalstar, even sued public transport agencies in different cities under the pretext that their apps traffic violated their patents. The confrontation ended quickly when all the agencies allied themselves to defend themselves against the unexpected attack.

But this is a small failure in the midst of ten years of success. The model of the prolific troll continued working until the defendants themselves counterattacked and the judges put an end to the good run by forcing the troll cornered to assume the costs of the defense.

Shipping & Transit never sold a tracking system. Their only task was to have the patents and demand license costs large enough to make the effort profitable, but not so succulent that the defendants decided to continue with the judicial process. The majority chose to pay the troll bite before entering a circuit where the costs are exorbitant for the defendants for infringement, while the plaintiffs barely take risks.

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