Acacia Research Group announced today that they had entered in to an agreement with BlackBerry thus ending the pending litigation over patent infringement.
The patent in question, US patent 7215962. actually belong to Nokia Siemens Networks, however, Nokia Siemens Networks entered a licensing agreement with Acacia Research, who within a year of this agreement filed suit against BlackBerry, LG, Pantech, HTC and ZTE.
So who is Acacia Research Group? They license patents. A quick explanation taken directly from their website;
Patent licensing can be an effective and efficient way to maximize the profit potential of a patent. A patent license agreement grants a third-party user of the invention (an infringer) permission to practice the patented invention in exchange for remuneration.
My friends, we have ourselves the definition of a patent troll! There has been a lot of talk about patent trolls, in the last few years, but not much has been done about it. In the US, it appears legislation is occurring on a state by state basis. Illinois recently passed a law which “bans patent demand letters that contain false or deceptive information; are sent by individuals who do not have the right to license or enforce a patent; falsely threaten litigation if a fee is not paid; and fail to identify the individual asserting the patent and explain the alleged infringement.” But the victims of these patent trolls are making it clear that this is not enough.
Delaware and Texas, specifically East Texas, seem to be particularly friendly to patent trolls. In East Texas, patent trolls win more than 40% of their cases, which is nearly double the rest of the nation. No surprise then that more than 45% of patent troll cases take place in East Texas. Want to make a guess where the Acacia lawsuit was filed? The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Shocking no?
Not much seems to be happening to correct the problem with my northern neighbors either. Canada seemed to be on the cusp of taking action after the Internet Association, a group of internet powerhouses including Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Netflix and Yahoo, urged Canada to enact reforms that would help stop the patent trolling. But Canadian businesses are urging caution. Someone that should be very familiar to us, Jim Balsille, is cautioning to get the details right.
As our governments are gnawing their fingernails, trying to determine how to handle these patent trolls, it appears BlackBerry has taken the necessary steps to get another troll off it’s back. Let’s hope the time of the patent trolls are coming to an end. But don’t worry for these sad bridge dwellers. Even if their livelihood comes to an end, they’ve done fairly well for themselves. In fact, it appears that since 2010, patent trolls have made more than three times as much money in lawsuits than actual practicing companies.
Good show trolls.