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‘Trolling Effects’ Debuts

Initiative from Electronic Frontier Foundation, others, aims to fight nuisance litigation from patent trolls

The fight against patent trolls now has a new weapon.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a website for patent law reform.

Called “Trolling Effects,” the new site from the nonprofit group that lobbies for civil liberties in cyberspace, is a resource for those who have been targeted by patent trolls. Recipients of patent troll demand letters post those on the new site, find letters received by others and research who is behind the demands, according to the EFI, which also says the site is a resource to find out “how we can fix our broken patent system.”

Indeed, just yesterday we reported on a Manhattan Institute study on patent trolls issued by its Trial Lawyers Inc. specialty project that says patent litigation in the software industry has become so huge, an estimated $80 billion annually, it’s now an impediment to technology innovation.

The action is relevant to radio in light of the recent activity in the case concerning patents related to digital music storage and airplay. DigiMedia recently asked the federal judge in the case to resume the case involving allegations against several radio groups.

EFI has several partners on the project: App Developers Alliance; Ask Patents; CEA; the Computer and Communications Industry Association; Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law; Engine Advocacy; Public Knowledge; the Public Patent Foundation; and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Berkeley Law.

The group led by EFF is trying to get as many letters submitted into its database as possible. Calling each letter “crucial,” EFF says “Each one provides key insights into the patent landscape: who the bad actors are, what patents are being asserted and how often, and who’s being targeted.”

The Consumer Electronics Association hails the site and is a sponsor. CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro says “By stripping away the secrecy that allows patent trolls to thrive, Trolling Effects will allow innovators to respond more strategically and effectively to patent troll threats.”

Initiatives like Trolling Effects, coupled with bills introduced by President Obama’s administration and members of Congress to reform patent law, “promise an end to the patent troll plague and allow entrepreneurs to innovate without constant threat of frivolous lawsuits,” according to Shapiro.