The patent troll is back, and it’s getting a whole lot more nasty.
In fact, it’s not even dead yet.
A new class of trolls called intellectual property capital (IPC) has been formed in order to pursue IP holders.
While there are legitimate reasons for these trolls to go after IP holders, the new class will likely be used more for malicious purposes, like taking advantage of companies’ financial woes to pursue them.
We spoke with Brian Wieden, the VP of IP for the National Patent Foundation, who described the new troll as “an industry of criminals.”
“We are going to be looking at IP holders who are using IP capital to make false accusations, then going to court and seeking money in court, and eventually trying to take their money and get their IP back,” he said.
“That is an industry that is just completely out of control.”
In fact the industry is getting worse by the day.
According to Wiederstein, there were nearly 1,000 IP cases filed last year, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year.
“We’ve got a lot of folks that are trying to make money off the public at the expense of the public and then going after IPs that are not doing anything wrong,” he added.
“And they’re going to go to court with a vengeance, trying to collect money.”
The new class The new troll is going after companies like Netflix, which is suing a group of unnamed IP holders in California for copyright infringement.
Netflix is not the only one being targeted by IP trolls, though.
According the National Institute of Justice, the patent and trademark industries were among the most vulnerable industries in the U.S. in 2016, with the vast majority of IPs targeted for infringement.
That’s according to a study by Intellectual Ventures, a startup that tracks patent lawsuits.
“The biggest threats to the future of IP are not from the law, but from the business model of the patent industry, which has a bad track record when it comes to fair use and innovation,” the study found.
“These companies also do not share the public’s view on fair use, and the public often doesn’t see their products for what they are.”
The researchers found that patent trolls like to target businesses that are “too big, too fast, too innovative, too successful, or too successful for other IP holders.”
The research also found that IP holders are less likely to be willing to pay for IP lawsuits when they have more money to lose.
IP holders typically have less leverage in court because they have less money and more leverage over the patent holder.
“When the cost of litigating is less than a patent holder’s profit margin, it makes a lot more sense to settle than to fight,” Wiederson said.
IP owners are often the ones who end up suing the smaller companies.
“There are so many cases out there, that the average IP owner is going to spend about $1 million on a patent,” Wiesen said.
But, he added, “they’re not going to pay $1.1 million.”
Wiedens statement seems to contradict an assertion made by the New York Times last month.
“Patents are a lucrative industry, but they are not worth the expense for trolls to sue small companies who don’t want to fight the trolls,” the newspaper reported.
“For small businesses, the trolls can get a good deal for their money.
And for large businesses, it can be a lot worse.”
As Wiedes article pointed out, the troll is likely the same company that sued Uber for copyright violations in May, only to be slapped with a $25 million settlement in June.
Uber and UberEATS, Uber’s rival, sued each other in July after the latter claimed UberEAT infringed on Uber’s intellectual property rights.
UberEats had accused Uber of infringing on UberEATT’s intellectual rights for its mobile app and its ride-hailing app, both of which Uber denied.
The lawsuit was dismissed in September after Uber agreed to settle with UberEATES.
It appears that UberEATE sued UberEATERAT for allegedly infringing on its intellectual property.
But the case did not go to trial, which would have allowed UberEATOR to seek a jury trial.
Wieding’s statement could mean that IPs are getting even more expensive for copyright holders.
According Wied, “We’re not talking about $10 million, we’re talking about a billion dollars a year in legal fees.”