Dirty secrets of America's most notorious patent troll


I wonder if I could patent the sending of infringement letters? Then MPHJ would owe me 16,465 trillion dollars.

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If a company buys a product off the shelf for its employees to use, and they use that product exactly how it’s intended to be used (i.e. scanning a document and automatically sending that document via e-mail) how is the company that is using the product infringing in any way?

It sounds like MPHJ is not trying to get products that provide this functionality taken off the shelf, or trying to get the manufacturers of these products to license their patents, but instead going after end users. This seems very similar to what the SCO Group was doing 10 years ago.

Yes, that’s what trolls do. Suing the FTC is a super ballsy move though, since what they’re doing is basically just extortion. They could very well find themselves in a Prenda style meltdown if they’re not careful.

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if they’re not careful.

Please please, let them not be careful.

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Back in the day I used to amuse myself by billing corporations who’d sent me junk mail. I charged AOL some arbitrary sum for having to deal with the umpteenth f’ing CD-ROM of theirs, and was quite amazed to receive a denial from some corporate official. At the very least it was good, cathartic, fun. Perhaps I’m similar to MPHJ in that I made the attempt, but quite unlike MPHJ I never expected to receive a penny (and partially expected to be sued myself).

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There is a small difference, SCO did actually like sue and did have like a coherent theory of trollage.

This troll is simply sending out threatening letters by the ton. What is amazingly stupid about the whole process is that they went after small businesses that are least likely to pay up even if they knowingly infringe and the amount they demanded was far more than most of the targets could pay. Profitable patent trolling usually involves demanding $1 million from F500 sized companies and settling for $50K. Demanding $50K from mom and pop shops is a losing proposition.

This is like the difference between the special and the general theory of IP trolling.

Suing the FTC claiming that the threat of a civil lawsuit violates their fist amendment rights is the sort of action that tends to only lead to court sanctions. The best that could happen is the court combines the actions into one and recognizes MPHJ as the plaintiff which gives certain tactical advantages in controlling time. But the court is not going to do that, they are much more likely to stay the proceedings once the FTC files suit.

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