Patent troll suing free WiFi providers like coffee shops

Love free WiFi in places like coffee shops? Enjoy it, because if patent troll Innavatio IP Ventures gets its way, every corner coffee shop and Panera Bread will be sued for offering the WiFi you enjoy. And they can sue you, too.

A blog named The Patent Examiner lays it all out, including the weasel legal tricks used by Innovatio to charge a few thousand dollars per suit when attacking small businesses. While most patent battles are for millions, these suit amounts are between $2,500 and $5,000. If you've ever dealt with a lawsuit, you know that amount is what it costs to start talking seriously to a lawyer. Since it's far cheaper for a small business to pay Innovatio than a lawyer, patent trolling has now gone into the volume lawsuit business.

Why not attack the makers of WiFi equipment? Innovatio did, filing suit against Motorola and Cisco. But those companies have their own fleet of lawyers, and are fighting back. Let's hope the big tech dogs can crush the patent trolls, and we can keep getting Internet access with our coffee.

Scumbags on the loose

Sounds as if a troll can make a fortune in tiny settlements too small to justify hiring a lawyer to defend.

fjpoblam on

It's cynical, reprehensible, and evil, but it's a pretty solid business model.

redthrowaway on

There is clearly prior art. When you make this big a nuisance of yourself, clearly exploiting the system at society's expense, you should be permanently disbarred. You are a clear and present danger to the continued operation of the justice system.

noonespecial on

It's a common misunderstanding of patent law that you can't be sued if you buy a product that violates the patent. This is not the case: anybody who "practices" the technique described in the patent is liable, unless they have a license. So if the company that sold you the WiFi box paid for a license on your behalf, you're in the clear. If they didn't, you're not. In principle, the patent holder can sue both you and the company who sold you the WiFi router.

Ted Lemon on

Patent trolls may be evil, but they're not stupid. The best we can hope for is for them to sue a close friend of a congressman or judge.

kylec on

Who loves lawyers?

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." (Henry VI part 2, IV, Sc 2) - but perhaps he should have added "followed by the grasping scum who employer them, and the idiots who pass the laws that encourage this stupidity."

Anonymous Coward on

It has always struck me as crazy that they can go around useing users, rather then producers of the tech and even more crazy that they can sue after the patent has been challenged. Seems like that should be a show stopper until cleared up.

Griffon on

Patent reform request #212

Stupid american patents shocker

Anonymous Coward on

Will somebody please patent the process of patent trolling and sue anyone who patent trolls?

Rex Mitchell on

Intellectual property and patents are not the problem, the problem is the broken system around them that allows these types of abuses.

kprobst on

I wonder if Patent Troll will be a popular Halloween costume this year?

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