Saturday, March 22, 2014

Professor Sichelman - The Vonage Triology: A Case Study in "Patent Bullying"

University of San Diego Law Professor Ted Sichelman published an interesting article The Vonage Trilogy: A Case Study in "Patent Bullying" on February 18, 2014.

Professor Sichelman tells us "patent bullies are large, established operating companies that threaten or institute costly patent infringement actions of dubious merit against smaller companies, usually in order to suppress competition or garner licensing fees." 

Professor Sichelman states "patent bullies have scarcely been discussed in the academic literature or popular press, especially in recent years."

Professor Sichelman examines Sprint, Verizon and AT&T patent infringement suits against Vonage, a startup providing Internet telephone services. Yes, whatever happened to Vonage? The article says the patent infringement suits sank Vonage. How many startups are hampered not by patent trolls but by the incumbents' patents? We should figure this out, because incumbents patent portfolios may not just capture innovation, but generate a patent thicket for startups seeking to enter the marketplace. Congress should take a look at patent bullying -- is Vonage an isolated instance or an all too frequent occurrence? 

Copyright © 2014 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.