Tough Troll

A tough new troll has emerged in the shape of Inventergy which buys patents and then goes after companies which, it alleges, have infringed them.

It claims to have 750 patents which have been infringed by 135 companies and is in discussions with 20 of them.

Unlike self-respecting trolls which develop their own IP, Inventergy does not create any technology.

It seems to be a middleman using technology developed by other companies to sue manufacturers which may have infringed patents on it.

The usual guff about ‘defending its rights’ and how ‘unfortunate’ its law-suit is, and how it’s ‘seeking court assistance’ are being trotted out as Inventergy sues Texas-based Genband for alleged infringement of patents relating to VOIP and IMS.

Tags: technology development

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16 Comments

  1. david manners
    July 18, 2014 12:36

    So what’s needed is something like our Small Claims Courts where people can get quick cheap legal decisions.

  2. Terry
    July 18, 2014 11:01

    A large part of the problem lies in the US legal system where the richest party usually wins. Thus large corporations can patent things that aren’t even inventions at all, while smaller operators don’t benefit from patenting their real innovations because the corporate giants just walk all over them anyway.

  3. david manners
    July 18, 2014 08:32

    What a terrible story, Scunnerous, thank you that’s an object lesson for anyone wanting to sell IP to a big company. I suppose the lesson is to get a good lawyer from Day One. At least J&J made him two offers. The villain of the piece is CNN.

  4. david manners
    July 18, 2014 08:17

    Well I think what I’d do Mike, is to go to a patent attorney and ask him to enforce it on a no win no fee basis. Might work. But you have flagged up a conceivably useful role for a troll.

  5. Mike Bryant
    July 18, 2014 07:41

    I totally agree it’s the cost of enforcement that’s the issue. In the late 1980s there was a proposal for a form of arbitration that would value a patent and then a simple court order would send the bill to all trangressors. And of course ETSI had an excellent charging scheme for early GSM patents.

    But several companies such as Qualcomm came along and wanted higher royalties and the ball rolled from there to where we are now when the royalties outweighs production costs.

    We definitely need patents, but need to get back to a system of low cost enforcement. However I still think the trolls as you call them would be the best way for any lone inventor to proceed as they would have the experience an individual wouldn’t. After all would you even know where to send a patent violation claim to say TSMC, Samsung or Intel ?

  6. Scunnerous
    July 18, 2014 01:11

    If you want a cautionary tale of one man with a patent against a large corporation, look up Sean Dix.

  7. david manners
    July 17, 2014 21:25

    I agree that abuse of the patent system is causing harm to both inventors and manufacturers Keith, but the problem with abolishing the system is that it may result in even more harm because it might remove the motivation to innovate. One wonders if Dyson and ARM could have survived without a system of IP protection.

  8. david manners
    July 17, 2014 21:18

    Interesting Mike it seems the system is too expensive for inventors to protect their patents and too expensive for manufacturers defending themselves against trolls. It’s the cost of the system that needs reforming not the basic principle of patents.

  9. Mike Bryant
    July 17, 2014 18:45

    I realise patent trolls aren’t flavour of the month but I’ve recently advised someone to sell his patent to one for whatever he can get because Intel, TSMC et al will simply ignore him and his patent. At least this way the inventor gets some due reward, even if the troll gets the lion’s share. The system is simply too expensive for the one man band to protect his IP.

  10. Keith
    July 17, 2014 17:18

    It’s yet another reason why patents should be banned. Instead of protecting their originators, they are being used to prevent innovation, and they discriminate against small companies because the legal costs of defending them are so high.

    They should be abolished, or do what the Chinese did and just ignore them.

  11. david manners
    July 17, 2014 11:36

    Yes of course, Terry, that’s just racketeering in my book. Inventors use patents, racketeers abuse them.

  12. Terry
    July 17, 2014 11:16

    You’re right that patents are intended to protect inventors David, but these days they’re being misused for pure nonsense.

    Like patent number D670,286 issued to Apple Corporation which defines a rectangle with rounded corners, like my Tupperware lunchbox or indeed some Victorian snuffboxes.

    Or how about patent 8,710,936 issued to Apple Corporation for a “Resonant oscillator with start up and shut down circuitry”. Are we to expect retrospective lawsuits for violators of this one stretching back to the valve era?

  13. david manners
    July 16, 2014 17:59

    No, but it’s difficult to get a patent without creating something, SilverMan, and while they’re a racket to racketeers, to inventors they’re a livelihood.

  14. Silverman
    July 16, 2014 17:06

    If a patent is simply a very generalised blueprint.
    Does drawing one actually “create” technology?

    Patents are a real racket.

  15. david manners
    July 16, 2014 16:07

    I agree, Terry, it’s a particularly egregious example of parasitism

  16. Terry
    July 16, 2014 16:02

    This lot are cut from the same cloth as ambulance chasers, and neither would be missed much if they disappeared tomorrow.

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