We recently wrote about a new patent troll called Innovatio, which was suing a bunch of coffee shops, restaurants, supermarkets and hotels, claiming that by offering WiFi hotspots, they were infringing on its patents. Glenn Fleishman reminded us of a very similar story from seven years ago, when Acacia (one of the biggest patent trolling operations out there), got some patents and went after various hotspot providers, similarly asking them to pay (relatively) small amounts ($1,000/year) to "license" the patents in question. The patents in question are different from the patents being used by Innovatio. However, if you think these two companies are the only ones to hold patents that cover some aspect of WiFi, think again. While, as far as I know, Acacia eventually gave up on this strategy, if Innovatio continues, just watch various patent holders come out of the woodwork. Operating a WiFi hotspot may mean getting hit up weekly to pay off the next round of patent trolls.
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