As a step in carrying out President Obama’s effort to curb abusive patent troll litigation, the Patent Office has created a valuable resource center for targets of patent troll suits and demand letters, although they refer to it as “abusive patent litigation.” The site has considerable value for retailers, both those facing their first suit and those who see a steady course of them. The site has pages collecting information and resources for those who have been sued, those who have received a demand letter, and more general background information:
The most valuable section of the site for most retailers will be the Resources and Glossary page. The page aggregates well-known legal resources like Westlaw and Google Patents. But the value comes from specialized resources, including those created specifically for the Patent Office and this resource page. It offers information regarding related cases from three well known entities to people steeped in patent litigation:
- Docket Navigator — Offering similar, but more limited, content as it provides to subscribers, including information about related cases and construed claims terms from the patents in suit. In the interest of full disclosure, I work with Docket Navigator to create the Blog’s monthly retail patent litigation reports.
- Lex Machina — Provides information on related cases and parties, again in a more limited format than it offers subscribers.
- RPX — Provides metrics and analytics about the market & legal activity of an asserted patent. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a lead trial counsel on RPX Insurance’s patent troll defense counsel panel.
The Patent Office’s resource page also offers several sites that aggregate demand letters, allowing a retailer to get at least some anecdotal evidence of what others are seeing from the same troll:
- AskPatents — A crowd sourced forum about patents, including prior art for specific patents. Of course, be careful not to offer any privileged or confidential information on these forums.
- ThatPatentTool — Provides the ability to share and connect with others on demand letters.
- Trolling Effects — A searchable database of letters that have been voluntarily provided to the site, and an FAQ on demand letters.
Thank you to the Patent Office and the White House for creating this resource. It will be valuable for retailers and for any troll target more generally.