Unified Patents Inc., which deters non-practicing entity patent troll litigation, has secured membership from more than 40 companies in the Content Delivery field to deter abusive patent enforcement. It has taken action on behalf of Content Delivery by filing two Inter-Partes Reviews (IPRs) intended to notify NPEs that the assertion of bad patents in Content Delivery will not be tolerated. On July 30th, Unified filed an IPR petition against a patent held by Broadband iTV and on August 5 it filed one against a patent held by Dragon Intellectual Property, both NPEs.
Unfortunately, NPE litigation continues to increase. In the first six months of 2014, 87 percent of all high tech litigation was initiated by NPEs or “trolls.” Historically, when patents are challenged at the USPTO over 60 percent have been found to be invalid and almost 90 percent had at least one claim invalidated. Despite these statistics, most NPE patent cases settle because of the high cost of litigation, which results in NPEs achieving a cash return.
According to Kevin Jakel, CEO of Unified Patents, the company’s analysis shows that content delivery was at an all-time high of approximately 120 litigations in 2013 with over 95 percent being brought by NPEs. “The financial cost, and the cost associated with management and engineering and distractions that result from these NPE litigations, are significant,” he explained.
Unified was formed on the belief that the best way to reduce rampant NPE litigation is by discouraging NPEs from asserting invalid patents. Unified is unique from other solutions because it never pays NPEs, allows startups to join for free, and through its activities deters NPE activity in strategic technologies it calls “Zones.” Additionally, because Unified does not buy patents/licenses at the most expensive point in litigation, the costs for large companies can be a tenth the cost of other solutions, according to Jakel.
“NPEs continue to impose a major operational cost on the content delivery industry,” said Jakel,. “Unified is delighted to announce that we have secured subscriptions from a large group of leading broadband, cable and entertainment industry companies.”
Content delivery technologies protected by Unified include content production, distribution, storage/management, personalization, end-point distribution, consumption, and security. This is intended to cover the delivery and consumption of content on everything from traditional TVs to mobile phones. Subscribers to its Content Delivery Zone include companies ranging from startups to some of the largest companies in the country.
The company uses proprietary monitoring, market intelligence, and analysis to deliver risk mitigation services to its members, including monitoring and deterring NPEs active in the content delivery space. If Unified identifies a threatening NPE, it draws upon its network of experts, prior art search firms, and attorneys to independently evaluate the validity of the NPE’s patents. In the event that Unified identifies an invalid patent being asserted against content delivery technologies, it may decide to petition the USPTO to invalidate the patent.
Jakel said, “The message is clear: NPEs and others engaged in abusive patent litigation should avoid content delivery and other technology areas covered by Unified.”