They don’t live under a bridge, but they are quite ugly. Patent trolls have been lurking around Kaspersky Lab for years, trying to make a claim that we are using technology that had been patented by someone else. The one rather famous among them is known as Lodsys, a company located in Texas and operates as a Patent Assertion Entity, or, in other words, a business that does not utilize patent ownership to create new products. Instead, it relies on “income” from patent lawsuits, blaming other companies for illegally using the intellectual property it sits on. Lodsys is well known for initiating patent infringement lawsuits against a variety of companies, including Apple, Symantec, HP and Samsung, to name a few. A number of developers for Android and iOS platforms were targeted as well, despite the fact that Google and Apple had licensed Lodsys patents.
In this particular case, Lodsys filed patent lawsuit against Kaspersky Lab and 54 other companies. The alleged infringement related to collecting user’s perceptions about the product, including license purchase, renewal and upgrades with computer applications. In other words, it concerned all of our products sold on US territory and, in particular, In-Product-Purchasing technology and the US technical support site. For example, purchasing an upgrade within a computer application would fit, which is quite a universal practice.
51 other companies settled with Lodsys before trial. Another four defendants settled only ten days before the trial hearing. Kaspersky Lab at all times refused to settle out of court and instead demanded the case be brought to trial. From the beginning, we have kept a firm stance on these claims and maintained that we did not infringe on any of Lodsys’s patents and their patent claims are invalid.
On September 30 2013, Lodsys decided to withdraw its claim and the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. Kaspersky Lab maintains that it does not infringe on any of Lodsys’ patents, and that their patent claims are invalid. Our position is based on evidence regarding non-infringement and invalidity which was presented to the court in response to arguments filed by Lodsys.
To note, more than 400 other companies, including both small and large software developers signed license agreements with Lodsys before this lawsuit was filed. Through the agreements, Lodsys earns licensing fees whenever the companies use their allegedly-patented technologies.
Additionally, this is not the first patent troll to be defeated by Kaspersky Lab. Last year, another Patent Troll (Information Protection and Authentication of Texas), gave up without receiving anything from Kaspersky Lab following a decision in favor of Kaspersky Lab from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Eugene Kaspersky and the Company have always had this stance on patent trolls, “No concessions to the trolling scum. For we have being right on our side. We shall fight them with all means available. We shall never surrender!”.
Fighting patent trolls is never an easy task. Each case is an exceptionally complex legal action for a number of reasons. It is hard to coordinate efforts with large number of defendants involved. The patents involved are almost always very abstract with vague claims that have to be met with a proper response. Another hurdle is the lack of time along with the need to perform a deep analysis and present substantial counterclaims.
If you are interested in the history behind this case, please see the following blog posts by Eugene Kaspersky: