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Retailers join war against patent trolls

Eddie Bauer among retailers pushing for Congress to take action

Retail chain Eddie Bauer is best known for stylish and warm clothing. If you want a snazzy quarter-zip fleece or a hip Oslo crewneck sweater, then you can pop by the company’s website and shop to your heart’s content. Eddie Bauer, then, would seem to be the last company one would expect to get into a heated battle with patent trolls who, traditionally, have targeted hi-tech businesses. But even the company’s most expensive jackets cannot protect it from attacks by patent assertion entities.

Recently, however, patent trolls have gotten more brazen and aggressive. They are going after companies in the retail and hospitality spaces, asserting that these companies’ websites are built on technologies that infringe on existing patents. A spokeswoman for Eddie Bauer told The Washington Times that the retailer has received “a number of threats of litigation and been the target of lawsuits by patent-assertion entities” for violating what she called “vague ecommerce-related patents.”

Eddie Bauer is just one of over 40 companies that has implored Congress to take aggressive action to stand up to patent trolls. Retailers, of course, are not the only ones who have voiced their displeasure to the federal government. Recently, a group of venture capitalists wrote a letter to Congress calling for patent reform, stating that excessive patent litigation was harmful to innovation.

The issue of patent trolls is one that has drawn attention both from the federal government as well as states, with attorneys general from several states cracking down on the problem that they see as harmful to the economy.


To read more about the ongoing saga of patent trolls, check out the following:

Newegg loses patent infringement case

FindTheBest slays a patent troll

Patent trolls: The saga continues

Boston start-up fighting back against patent trolls



Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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