You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Dole settles civil suits related to listeria outbreak

Trade groups wage war on patent trolls


A print and radio advertising campaign launched recently in Ohio seeks to raise public awareness about the costly problem of frivolous patent litigation and urges residents to demand action from federal lawmakers to address it.

Some groups — pejoratively referred to as “patent trolls” — use lawsuits or the threat of litigation to obtain sizable payments from businesses and nonprofits for sometimes questionable patent infringement.

Patent trolls cost the U.S. economy $80 billion annually, and abusive patent activities are financially harming small businesses and start-ups and stifling innovation, according to the ad campaign.

Patent litigation is on the rise nationwide, and some groups claim too many of the lawsuits lack merit but result in payments or settlements because litigants understand how to exploit loopholes in patent law for financial gain.

“This is one of the most damaging things hurting our economy right now,” said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association, which was one group behind the ad campaign and represents some of the world’s largest web companies.

Some Ohio businesses have been threatened with litigation or sued for patent infringement by groups that make questionable patent claims.

An Ohio business last fall received a letter threatening possible legal action if the company used basic copier equipment that allows scanned documents to be attached to an e-mail through a local computer network, according to an Aug. 5 Dayton Daily News article.

The technology described in the letter is commonplace and has been available for years, industry experts said.

But a Delaware company called DucPla said the Ohio business and others across the state that use such copiers need to pay $1,200 or more for each of their employees or else risk legal action for patent infringement.

Some patent claims are clearly absurd and would not withstand a legal challenge, but paying to defend against a patent lawsuit can be extremely expensive, and patent trolls often use this fact to derive settlements or licensing fees from companies that cannot afford a legal battle, Beckerman said.

“It’s a legalized form of extortion,” he said. “Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right, and this is something Congress needs to address immediately because it is hurting jobs in every sector of the economy in every single state and town across America.”

In late August, the Internet Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation and the Food Marketing Institute kicked off the “Stop Bad Patents” radio and print advertising campaign.

The trade groups said they want Congress to enact new laws that shift court costs to the patent trolls if they lose frivolous lawsuits.

The trade groups also call for more scrutiny of patent claims before a patent infringement case heads into the discovery phase, which is when legal expenses can mount up.

Elected officials from both political parties have criticized patent troll activities and some have introduced legislation that seeks to curb abusive practices.

But some patent experts said they fear lawmakers will overhaul the otherwise effective patent system simply because of the actions of a few unscrupulous parties.

They said the patent system is designed to protect inventors and promote innovation, and changing the law could make it harder for them to capitalize and monetize their intellectual property.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Dole settles civil suits related to listeria outbreak
Dole settles civil suits related to listeria outbreak

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. has settled two separate civil lawsuits related to a listeria outbreak last year tied to the company’s Springfield plant. Court documents filed in U.S. District Court show the company recently reached settlement agreements with plaintiffs in two separate cases. The terms of both agreements were not disclosed. The most...
Kindhearted cops give homeless man makeover
Kindhearted cops give homeless man makeover

A police department’s act of kindness for a New York man who they say has been “down on his luck” is going viral. The Rome Police Department on Tuesday shared photos of the man, whom they identified as Bobby, before and after he was given a haircut, a shave, a shower and new clothing. “Bobby left looking like a whole new person...
Sheriff reassigns, suspends Sidney HS SRO for inappropriate comments
Sheriff reassigns, suspends Sidney HS SRO for inappropriate comments

A Shelby County Sheriffs deputy who reported Thursday that he made inappropriate comments to a female student at Sidney High School has been reassigned and suspended without pay. Deputy Anthony Cipollone worked as a school resource officer at the high school and has been with the sheriff’s office since July 2015, according to a release from Chief...
NICU babies get hero capes for Superheroes Day
NICU babies get hero capes for Superheroes Day

They are some of the smallest fighters, but they, and their parents, are heroes in their own right. And to honor the children being taken care of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Allegheny Health network in Pittsburgh, the newborns got their own super hero capes in honor of National Superhero Day. >> Read more trending news The national observation...
Study: Pot shops lead to more property crime in nearby neighborhoods
Study: Pot shops lead to more property crime in nearby neighborhoods

Neighborhoods with nearby legal marijuana stores see more property crime each year than those without pot shops, according to new research from an Ohio State University social work professor who examined three years of data in Denver. “If you’re looking strictly from a public health standpoint, there is reason to be somewhat concerned about...
More Stories