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Rackspace GC Goes Public With 'Patent Troll' Strategy
Attorneys for companies across the U.S. continue to deal with litigation involving so-called patent trolls on a regular basis, but recently the general counsel for one company has been taking an unusual step: Alan Schoenbaum, GC for web-hosting company Rackspace, is going online to lay out his anti-troll strategy in public.
When Rackspace contacted Rotatable to ask for a routine extension of time to answer their complaint, Rotatable admitted their trollish motives. Unprompted, they told us they had been instructed by their client to offer a settlement of $75,000 to anyone who contacts them asking for an extension of time. And that the number was negotiable.
According to Schoenbaum, Rotatable provides a textbook case of patent extortion, noting that Rackspace isnt just talking about it: In the past month, we fought a troll in court, and won, and we turned the tables on another, suing them in Federal Court."
. . . filed a challenge to Rotatables patent in the patent office . . . Its called an IPR, or Inter Partes Review. Its a new proceeding made available under the America Invents Act. It gives us a chance to show why the patent is invalid and should not have been issued in the first place. Once we file the IPR, the patent holder can file a response. From there, a board of patent reviewers has a year to decide whether the patent in question is valid.
Schoenbaum thinks the best way to get at patent trolls is by targeting the disputed patent itself: We believe an IPR is our best option to have this patent abolished at its sourceeliminate the root, destroy the weed, adding, IPRs can be risky and costly. We know this IPR will cost us more than the $75,000 that Rotatable wanted to extort from us.
We understand Alan is busyhe spends a lot of time testifying on Capitol Hill about the broken patent system and hes the top lawyer for a multi-billion dollar company. But perhaps one of the thousand plus lawyers at the two mega-firms he had working on this could have called or sent an email. Just a thought.