I came across this TechDirt article: Exposing The Patent Troll Playbook… And How To (Almost) Beat It (h/t Ron Carson, VP of Marketing at Innovation Asset Group). This is an insider’s account of what it is like to be the victim of a so-called “patent troll”. Perhaps better than the article itself are the comments which make it clear how passionate people are about the topic of patent trolls. This is recommended reading, if just for the entertainment value of the comments.
Reading the TechDirt article made me recall my time as a junior litigator at a well-known Atlanta law firm. As a very green (and tired) young attorney, I sent many “licensing offer letters” for the AudioFax Company. In this role, I was an enabler of a very successful patent troll. And, as set out in this post, I have continued to enable patent trolls throughout my more than 13 years as a patent attorney and intellectual property business strategist.
The story of AudioFax is summarized here, albeit in softball form. In short, AudioFax’s owner, Mark Bloomberg, was an entrepreneur selling fax equipment in the 1980’s. Another company, F-Mail, received a patent on the technology that Bloomberg was selling and came after him. Seeing an opportunity in fax patent licensing, Bloomberg acquired F-Mail’s patent, as well as obtaining two more patents of his own. Bloomberg hired a patent licensing company to scout out potential licensees and my law firm to send out letters. Thus, his successful journey as a “patent entrepreneur” began.