There are often very good reasons people and companies must defend their patents. The Patent system protects inventors. When a patent is infringed on, the holder must take action or risk losing their patent. That is how it works when the system is being used properly. Patent Trolls are not using the system as it was designed.
Patent trolls are not in the business of defending their patents. They are in the business of extortion. They purchase broad general patents and then make claims about infringement. They send out letters claiming a patent infringement and asking for “licensing” fees. It is nearly always cheaper to pay the fee than to fight it in court. Often these patent infringement claims would not likely hold up in court but few businesses are able to fund the 1.5 + million it would take to survive a legal battle. Even Apple gave in and settled.
For us non legal folks, that’s known as a shake down.
In 2013 one of these trolls sent letters to several leading podcasters such as HowStuffWorks podcast (Discovery Channel), Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, Adam Carolla and more. They claim that a patent for their failed “Magazines on tape” company covers the delivery of all media over the internet, including podcasting. Adam Carolla is the first to go to court, scheduled Sept. 2014.
Why Adam Carolla must win this case to protect podcasters:
If Adam wins this case it will set a precedent regarding the claims of podcasters infringing on the patent. The patent owner will likely go away. Sadly the opposite is also true. If he loses the patent troll will use that as leverage to go after more podcasters. They may be starting with the deeper pockets but they won’t stop there. Your favorite podcast is in danger of being shut down if this case goes badly.
That is why we at New Media Expo are supporting Adam Carolla in his fight against the patent troll. He is standing up to the bully on the playground and we stand with him.
Go to http://fundanything.com/patenttroll to learn more and support Adam with his fight against the trolls.
To learn more about how the patent system is being misused check out these links:
Electronics Frontier Foundation: Help Save Podcasting!
Drew Curtis: How I beat a patent troll
When Patents Attack! | This American Life
When Patents Attack… Part Two! | This American Life