Everyone hates trolls, right? They’re big and smelly and dangerous and eat people or friendly goats or what have you, and that’s just the fictional kind of trolls. In real life trolls can do real damage, including that most dastardly breed: the patent troll.
In pejorative usage, a patent troll is a person or company that attempts to enforce patent rights against accused infringers far beyond the patent’s actual value or contribution to the prior art. Patent trolls often do not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.
Newegg has an excellent record taking on patent trolls – so much so that those who are looking to abuse patent laws are mostly steering clear of the company these days. However, the really tricky thing about trolls is how hard they are to get rid of for good – as long as the law allows for it, people will try to take advantage, using the threat of lawsuits to get money from individuals and businesses both big and small. Since it’s usually cheaper for someone to settle with a troll than to take them to court to fight, and since the worst patent trolls can send out hundreds or thousands of claim letters on a regular basis, the economic math too often rewards the trolls.
That’s why it’s important for companies like Newegg to keep fighting, and it’s in that spirit that Newegg has announced their public support for a patent troll victim in a recent case. You can read all about it in Newegg’s press release right here:
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Newegg – well known for its crusade against abusive patent asserters – today extended its support to another patent abuser victim, Jordan Gwyther. Gwyther is a youth pastor, father of two, founder of Larping.org, and an online reseller of foam-tipped arrows used for live-action role-playing (LARPing). Global Archery Products is suing Gwyther, alleging the foam-tipped arrows sold by Gwyther’s company infringe on Global’s patents. Gwyther argues the arrows he resells had been available many years prior to Global filing its patent applications. When Gwyther posted details of his plight online, Global and its lawyer attempted to silence him with a request for a gag order from the court.
Newegg has the hard-earned reputation of refusing to settle with patent abusers, often called ‘patent trolls,’ and for being willing to take cases to trial when other defendants settle. Newegg has invalidated a number of bad patents, such as the infamous Soverain Software patent, saving every online retailer from having to pay the ‘toll of the troll.’
“After reviewing the facts and circumstances of Mr. Gwyther’s case, Newegg believes Global’s suit against him is an abusive overreach of intellectual property rights,” said Lee Cheng, Newegg’s Chief Legal Officer. “As a result, we intend to provide assistance to Mr. Gwyther, including the donation of profits from the sale of our anti-patent troll t-shirts to support his legal defense fund. We are also releasing three new t-shirt designs, including a limited edition design created in collaboration with Mr. Gwyther, to raise additional funds for his defense.”
Cheng added, “This case represents the same type of abuse of intellectual property rights Newegg has stood up to for years. Global Archery’s patents would likely not withstand an invalidity challenge, but they are leveraging them to demand settlement terms that would effectively force this enthusiast and entrepreneur out of business.”
Lee Cheng is widely regarded as Newegg’s ‘Chief Troll Hunter.’ His successful defense against numerous so-called ‘patent trolls’ caused a steady decline of patent cases brought against the company. In fact, one patent assertion entity that recently sued a Newegg subsidiary, Rosewill (Newegg’s private-label brand), dropped its case upon discovering the company was wholly owned by Newegg.
Cheng continued, “Newegg has faced similar demands from parties with aggressive counsel asserting patents and trademarks who offered to drop their lawsuits if we would acknowledge their questionable rights. If we had agreed, we would not have been able to offer whole lines of non-competing products to our customers. Unfortunately, non-practicing entities are not the only parties abusing IP rights – trolls and litigation abusers come in all shapes and sizes. We are proud to have an opportunity to help an entrepreneur with a passion for his business and community.”