Patent Trolls Still Very Busy: These Two 'Innovators' Have Filed 22 Lawsuits Since January Of This Year
from the keeping-lawyers-employed-is-not-a-'good'-or-'service' dept
Here comes another round of lawsuits from non-practicing entities. With patent reform constantly just around the corner, it appears that those seeking to extract money from actual businesses with actual products and services are making a push to get some lawsuits filed before reforms kick in.
Landmark Technology, LLC makes no products and offers no services, something that can easily be surmised by its “address” in Tyler, Texas. It does, however, generate lawsuits and demand letters, most referencing patent 6,289,319: ‘Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System.’ Or, as the EFF puts it more succinctly: paying with a credit card online.
Landmark Technology is Lawrence Lockwood’s latest incarnation. Lockwood pushed this patent through back in 2001, apparently racking up ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ in costs while doing so. Since that point, he has sued multiple companies for infringing on his patent and extracted several settlements. Many he sued under the name of Pangea IP (PanIP), which was covered here in 2003.
Under this name (originated in 2008), Lockwood has sued multiple companies (Justia lists 79 lawsuits under this name). His latest batch of lawsuits was filed last Friday, naming such diverse entities as Dunkin’ Donuts, Abercrombie & Fitch, Caesar’s Gaming, Hitachi and Harley-Davidson. His previous batch, filed January 15th, named Louis Vuitton, The Children’s Place, Rubbermaid and a handful of others.
Landmark’s physical address in Tyler, Texas shares office space with other patent trolls, including Techdev Holdings, Eon Corp. IP Holdings and US Ethernet Innovations. Lockwood’s m.o. seems unchanged from a decade ago: send demand letters and follow up with a lawsuit. The America Invents Act may have (mostly) gone into effect in March of last year, but it’s had little discernible effect on those who do nothing more than hold onto exploitable patents without ever making use of the “invention.”
Like Better Mouse Company, LLC, a company that doesn’t seem to exist outside of lawsuits filed in East Texas. Better Mouse Company has filed 10 patent infringement lawsuits in the last 30 days, targeting Mad Catz, AsusTech and Corsair, among others — all over a patent described as “Apparatus for setting multi-stage displacement resolution of a mouse.” The patent was originally issued to SunPlus Technology Co. of Taiwan, but judging from the lawsuit activity, it looks to be in the hands of a patent-exploiting shell company. Bonus: Better Mouse is represented by the law firm of Antonelli, Harrington & Thompson LLP, the same team that represented patent troll Execware in its losing battle against Overstock.com.
This ongoing trolling is why entities like the EFF are pushing the Senate to pass its version of the Innovation Act, which sailed through Congress late last year. Although the Act was watered down by lobbying efforts, the Senate has an opportunity to build something stronger before it makes its way to the President. Until then, AIA or not, it still seems to be business as usual for non-practicing entities.