Patent Troll Mantra: Sue First, Ask Questions Later
from the that's-efficient dept
We’ve talked about Erich Spangenberg a few times on the blog before. He’s become one of the more aggressive patent hoarders out there, buying up patents, putting them in one of a huge list of shell companies and suing everyone he can think of, especially Google, (oh, and his wife has focused on suing Google over questionable trademark issues as well…). Spangenberg has gotten into some trouble for shuffling patents around, even suing companies multiple times over the same patent, despite promises not to do so.
Law.com now has an article about a recent panel discussion that included Spangenberg, where he explained that it was always better to sue first, without first contacting a company about licensing or alerting them to the fact that you believed their products infringed. Why? Because he’s afraid that if you contact them first, they’ll sue for declaratory judgment, and that would suck, because those lawsuits won’t take place in Spangenberg’s favorite court in East Texas. Why does he like East Texas, by the way? Because the folks there just love handing out huge awards. While recent reports said that Florida may be more favorable in winning lawsuits, Spangenberg thinks they’ll give lower awards:
“Unfortunately you have a buch of retirees [on Florida juries], so your award is going to be around a couple hundred grand,”
At some point, isn’t someone going to realize that folks like this are clearly abusing the legal system for profit, well outside of the intent of patent law? Just the fact that he admits he sues first before any sort of communication shows that he’s abusing the system. There’s no real interest in licensing, outside of licensing at the end of a lawsuit-shaped gun barrel. Of course, don’t expect the current neutered attempt at patent reform to fix anything. When asked about it, Spangenberg correctly notes that it won’t change anything.