NPR reports that last week, visitors to the Equifax website were met with an error message that sent off alarm bells. When people tried to visit a certain page on...
Originally posted 2013-05-06 14:06:08.
By Soh-Yeon Lee | amdlawgroup.com
U.S based companies– Google, Blackberry, Earthlink, and Red Hat– gathered a note to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice asking to monitor patent assertion and patent monetization entities that are interfering with the companies’ progression and development.
On 1 May 2013, CopyTele (CTI), a patent assertion company, sued Microsoft for Skype’s use of Voice over IP (VoIP) — a method of telecommuting via the internet– on behalf of its plaintiff, Secure Web Conference Corporation. CTI claims Microsoft infringed at least two encryption-related patents. Specifically, they were “method and apparatus for securing e-mail attachments” and “portable telecommunication security device.” CopyTele’s complaint inserts, “the Patents-in-Suit, generally speaking, relate to secure web-based peer-to-peer communications.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft received another suit regarding Skype’s patent infringement. On 23 April 2013, VirnetX Holding filed a case against Microsoft for infringing six patents.
Patent assertion agencies that rely on monetization as their sole income has been labeled as “patent trolls”. Companies reported, “patent trolls are filing four times as many cases as they did in 2005.”
Estimations reveal that 62 percent of all patent litigation matters are initiated by the patent assertion agencies. In 2011 patent assertion cases cost the U.S. companies $80 billion.
While patents are granted with rights and protections and patent assertion agencies uphold an important role to enforce them, agencies that buy off patents from subsidiaries and are mainly interested in monetization, cause skepticism toward their ideal motivation, which is to reward inventions.