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What credit unions need to know about patent trolls

Credit Union National Association assistant general counsel advises credit unions to fight the trolls

Robin Cook, assistant general counsel, CUNA

In myth and legend, trolls are fairly indiscriminate monsters attacking whatever creatures wander into their home turf. The same holds true for so-called patent trolls, non-practicing entities who use weak patents to extort money from businesses. Increasingly, these trolls are targeting “downstream” users of technology rather than manufacturers of devices like scanners and Wi-Fi equipment. These targets include restaurants, casinos and even credit unions.

Robin Cook, assistant general counsel of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), is striving to bring attention to this problem and let credit unions know what they can do to fight back. “Credit unions, coffee shops and other small entities get demand letters or get sued and they don’t know how to react,” says Cook. “They are not well equipped to deal with the case. They might not have an in-house lawyer or a patent expert available.” For this reason, the demand letters sent by trolls act as a form of extortion, and credit unions often don’t know how to make heads or tails of these letters.

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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