Crosbie Fitch alerts us to the news that skiing manufacturer Armada apparently secured a patent 7,690.674 earlier this year on a "snow riding implement," and the company has started sending out threat letters to a bunch of competitors. Now, two interesting things have happened in response. First, at least one of the companies threatened, Rossignol, has responded by pulling out one of its own patents (6,986,525 and filing a lawsuit against Armada for infringement, while also asking for declaratory judgment that it does not infringe on Armada's patent:
The second interesting thing is that if you read through the threads on either of the links forums above, you see a ton of customers swearing off Armada products. Oops. As Crosbie notes in his submission:
"One thing that patent trolls seem to be unaware of is the growing awareness in their customers of patents as a tool of extortion, so when a market player plays dirty, it's not just their competition they piss off, but their market, especially their current and potential customers."
Of course... that only applies to "trolls" who also make products...