While some patent trolls’ business may be affected by the Supreme Court’s past decision that patent infringement cases must be filed where the defendant is incorporated and the future one that involves the review of a lower court’s ruling that upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s process, one might reconsider how it does patent trolling business due to the potentially costly price of fee motions.
Per an Ars Technica report, Shipping and Transit, LLC, which has spent more than a decade filing patent infringement lawsuits and used the cost of litigation as leverage to demand licensing fees between $10,000 and $25,000, met its match when Logistics Planning Services (LPS), a Minnesota freight logistics company, seemingly called its bluff and chose to litigate. When Shipping and Transit dropped the case, LPS wasn’t going to let it get away with carrying forth an “objectively unreasonable” case and promptly filed a motion for fees.
In his decision, U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford stated, as quoted by Ars, that “[t]hese tactics present a compelling need for deterrence and to discourage exploitative litigation by patentees who have no intention of testing the merits of their claims.” He also found that the patents wouldn’t pass under Section 101 of the patent laws, which prevents the patenting of abstract ideas. Furthermore, the judge found the patent troll’s tactics of dropping claims to avoid the ruling on merits yet continuing to file new suits with the same claims “troubling.” Judge Guilford concluded his decision by recommending to both sides that they could avoid a dispute over fees by agreeing to an award in the amount of $20,000.
In addition to other fee motions, Shipping and Transit also has an Inter Partes Review challenge in the U.S. Patent Office to look forward to as well. Is it possible that their patent trolling business may be approaching the end of the line?