|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Patent trolls
US shops and restaurants fight patent trolls
image from ad campaign The print and radio campaign will be shown across
15 US states.
Continue reading the main story
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The Internet Association is among a group of US trade bodies behind a
new campaign calling for politicians to take action over patent trolls.
Patent trolls take out generalised patents, often on widely available
technology, and then demand money from companies who use or offer it.
Shops and restaurants have been targeted for displaying QR codes and
online store-locators, say the groups.
The radio and print adverts will appear in 15 US states.
"Patent trolls don't make anything, they just get rich," is a line from
the Stop Bad Patents campaign, which claims that businesses can find
themselves facing demands for $100,000 (?65,000) to settle - a
considerable sum but often cheaper than defending themselves in court.
Its organisers want voters to contact their Congress representatives
asking them to "stop bad patents, stop the trolls".
It is a joint initiative between the Internet Association, the National
Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation and the Food
Marketing Institute, all of whom say their members are increasingly
"Patent trolls use bad patents to bully companies of all sizes, in every
economic sector, from coast to coast," said Michael Beckerman, President
of The Internet Association.
"This is essentially legalised extortion, forcing hard-working
businesses to go to court or write a cheque."
US President Barack Obama has already called on Congress to tackle the
problem of people facing legal action over commonly used technology from
others who belatedly take out patents on it.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Alan Schoenbaum, general counsel
at the cloud computing firm Rackspace, explained that patent trolls are
often "entrepreneurs or finance people" rather than genuine inventors of
"Defending a lawsuit is extremely expensive... they play on that fear
that the defendant is going to spend a lot of money to defend itself and
it is simply cheaper to pay them off," he said.
However Erich Spangenberg, owner of "patent monetisation" company IP
Nav, says the practice of buying patents and asserting that right is
already commonplace in other industries.
"Much like an architect can design a building but does not build it, a
song-writer can compose a song but doesn't have to sing it, an inventor
can get granted a patent and ultimately is not forced to practise it,"