FTC Report Sheds New Light on How Patent Assertion Entities Operate; Recommends Patent Litigation Reforms

“The FTC recognizes that infringement litigation plays an important role in protecting patent rights, and that a robust judicial system promotes respect for the patent laws. Nuisance infringement litigation, however, can tax judicial resources and divert attention away from productive business behavior,” the report states. With this balance in mind, the FTC proposes reforms to:

  • Address the imbalances between the cost of litigation discovery for PAE plaintiffs and defendants;
  • provide the courts and defendants with more information about the plaintiffs that have filed infringement lawsuits;
  • streamline multiple cases brought against defendants on the same theories of infringement; and
  • provide sufficient notice of these infringement theories as courts continue to develop heightened pleading requirements for patent cases.

Source: FTC Report Sheds New Light on How Patent Assertion Entities Operate; Recommends Patent Litigation Reforms | Federal Trade Commission

Rightscorp Threatens Every ISP in the United States

While Rightscorp was expected to make the most of BMG’s victory in its future dealings with ISPs, the level of aggression in its announcement still comes as a surprise. Essentially putting every provider in the country on notice, Rightscorp warns that ISPs will now have to cooperate or face the wrath of litigious rightsholders.

Source: Rightscorp Threatens Every ISP in the United States – TorrentFreak

Whether this week’s developments will help to pull Rightscorp out of the financial doldrums will remain to be seen. The company has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for a couple of years now, and its shares on Wednesday were worth just $0.038 each. Following the BMG news, they peaked at $0.044.

Cost of Defending Against A Troll Is More Than Just A Bridge Toll

In plain English: Take photos of a race, tag and sort by bib number and date, and search for photos based on that tag via the Internet. That’s it.

We’re having a hard time seeing how this patent “promotes the progress of the sciences and the useful arts” given that it seems to be a patent on numerical sorting and searching. Indeed, the Supreme Court recently ruled that claims that simply add “do it on a computer” to an abstract idea are not even eligible for patent protection. We think the patent clearly fails this test. (It’s also likely not infringed). But because it can take months (and even years) for the court to even consider those issues, they will likely never be decided. Patent litigation is expensive, so many small businesses can’t afford to fight back no matter how weak the patent. That’s part of the problem. Companies can get 20 year “monopolies” after an average of 19 hours of review by the Patent Office. And because the cost to get a patent can be orders of magnitude less than the cost to defend against it, there is an incentive for people to get patents in order to later force defendants into settlement.

via Cost of Defending Against A Troll Is More Than Just A Bridge Toll | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

SynoLocker demands 0.6 Bitcoin to decrypt Synology NAS devices

It’s not clear yet how SynoLocker’s operators installed the malware, for example, if they had exploited a vulnerability in Synology devices. CSO Australia has asked Synology for comment and will update the story if it receives one.

According to the victim, Synology’s support team are interested in hearing from victims who have not reinstalled its Linux-based DiskStation Manager NAS operating system. Synology’s NAS devices were hit late last year by scammers looking to use their compute power to mine several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

via SynoLocker demands 0.6 Bitcoin to decrypt Synology NAS devices – CSO | The Resource for Data Security Executives.

Having proper backups would thwart this attack.  Simply wipe the box and rebuild the NAS.

Crushing Blow for Copyright Trolls: Appeals Court Halts AF Holdings’ Extortion Scheme

This same coalition has fought for years in courts around the country to explain how the trolls were abusing the legal process to extort settlements from unsuspecting John Does.  While several district courts have agreed, this is the first time a federal appeals court has weighed in.

via Crushing Blow for Copyright Trolls: Appeals Court Halts AF Holdings’ Extortion Scheme | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“Once a troll gets the names it’s looking for, then it already has what it needs to put its shakedown scheme in motion,” EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz said.

Patent troll backs down, agrees to stop suing public transit agencies

Unfortunately, ArrivalStar’s many targets in the private sector are going to have to continue to grapple with the litigious patent-holding company. ArrivalStar has never taken its patents anywhere near a trial, and hardly any of its lawsuits even go beyond early stages of litigation. With today’s settlement, ArrivalStar can continue avoiding any rigorous testing of its patents.

via Patent troll backs down, agrees to stop suing public transit agencies | Ars Technica.

Why I’m not paying the Troll Toll

Lodsys is seeking a percentage of revenue from the time they sent me the letter to the time their patent expired. Usually they request around 1% of your in-app-purchases. My company made about $500 with in-app-purchase during this time period and 1% of that is $5. What? I’m getting sued for $5? Given it cost Lodsys $350 to file the lawsuit I assumed they would ask for more than that. And they did.

Lodsys offered to settle with my company for $3,500. If I pay them off, what is stopping the next troll from knocking on my door? Nothing. And I’ve heard that if you pay a troll to go away it can lead to more trolls showing up.

via Why I’m not paying the Troll Toll | Todd Moore.

This passage seems like an appropriate response.

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ‘em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: –

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”

–Rudyard Kipling

The Pirate Bay Helps to Expose Copyright Troll Honeypot

The Pirate Bay logs not only link Prenda to the sharing of their own files on BitTorrent, but also tie them directly to the Sharkmp4 user and the uploads of the actual torrent files.

The IP-address 75.72.88.156 was previously used by someone with access to John Steele’s GoDaddy account and was also used by Sharkmp4 to upload various torrents. Several of the other IP-addresses in the log resolve to the Mullvad VPN and are associated with Prenda-related comments on the previously mentioned anti-copyright troll blogs.

via The Pirate Bay Helps to Expose Copyright Troll Honeypot | TorrentFreak.

Why weren’t the Prenda porn trolls stopped years ago?

Of course, lawyers and litigants use the court system every day as a way to make money; entire business models like patent trolling remain legal, and the lawyers involved aren’t so much as sanctioned. But with Prenda, the difference in Wright’s mind was apparently the target—not companies but individuals, many without much money or court experience. Prenda’s plan, Wright said, was nothing less than a scheme “to plunder the citizenry.”

via Why weren’t the Prenda porn trolls stopped years ago? | Ars Technica.

As for the porn trolling business model, well, it’s not dead yet. But at least it can’t be done this way.

This case has been terribly confusing for me to follow.  The following comment from the comment section sums up the issue with Prenda nicely.

One issue is that lawyers aren’t supposed to misrepresent who their clients are. In this case the lawyers *are* the clients, via numerous shell corporations and offshore trusts designed to obscure that fact. The Prenda attorneys allegedly bought the IP of little-known porn movies for very little money and then set up various bogus organizations to obscure the fact that the attorneys were also the plaintiffs who would benefit from favorable judgments. IANAL but apparently that behavior is frowned upon by law-talking guys.

Last mention of it here was last March.  A lot of work from sites like DieTrollDie and FightCopyrightTrolls went into helping the victims of this extortion.  Here’s a snippet from the latter:

We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially Morgan and Nick.