In recent USPTO news, Unified Patents, Inc. filed for an inter partes review with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing is an effort by the company to combat what it believes is “widespread litigation” brought by patent licensor Clouding IP. Kevin Jakel, founder of Unified, said in a statement,
“Clouding IP has gained a reputation as a patent ‘troll’ and is pursuing litigation against a number of defendants for allegedly infringing a patent we firmly believe to be invalid,”
Clouding IP’s lawsuit is based on a patent the company said it owns regarding file synchronization technology used by some of the biggest players in the cloud storage market. Among those being sued under the lawsuit are Oracle, Apple, Google, Amazon.com and Rackspace Hosting. If Unified Patents is successful in its pursuit, it could be an ever so slight victory against what many experienced in the field of patents believes is an epidemic. Entities enforcing patent rights against a supposed infringer for a product it does not produce or a service it does not provide.
The enforcement of these “rights” is nothing more than an attempt by these entities to collect licensing fees. Such entities are commonly known as patent trolls and are drawing increased attention from lawmakers. The pressure to address this ever-increasing abuse of the patent process is growing. So much so that Congress is scheduled to address the issue this fall. In a bill sponsored by Congressman DeFazio of Oregon, all court costs (including attorney fees) would be recoverable from the Patentee once it was determined that the patent was invalid or had not been infringed.
The President too has placed his administrations sites on trying to combat this issue. In recent executive actions and legislative recommendations the President has made moves requiring patent applicants and owners to designate the ultimate parent owner in control of a patent. Under the current system entities can create shell companies or exclusive licensee arrangements to assert a patent, merely for the purposes of collecting licensing fees. Because current USPTO assignment records do not require these arrangements to be revealed, the true owner of the patent remains concealed.
It is evident that the lucrative nature of patent trolling will continue to bring about lawsuits. It is also apparent that businesses and the government alike are pursuing efforts to curtail as much of the abuse as possible. With those two things being the case, it is critical that inventors and innovators of new technology protect themselves. If you have an invention and are looking to protect yourself from such unscrupulous types contact us today.