There are many legends about the legal system in the United States and absurd patents. Unfortunately, there are companies that make money on unjustly granted patents. Everything is settled on the basis that the trolls count on the fact that their victims will not want to go to court in their rights. However, Kaspersky Lab does not belong to companies that can be blackmailed in this way.
Eugene Kaspersky has described in his blog how his company fights with patent trolls. By the way, he explains what the whole phenomenon is and explains why no one should pay rape. Patent trolling consists in submitting patent applications and uses complex description of already known technical solution. In this way, the trolls gain the right to claim the use of the invention. Sometimes these solutions are even commonly known in the industry. Subsequently, they are sent to selected letter-writers with a request for payment of redress for unlicensed use of the particular patent. Of course, most victims are aware that a patent is actually unlawful. However, the demanded amount is so low that it is not worth it to anyone to prove it in the court.
Kaspersky Lab received a letter from the Wetro Lan company, which bought the rights to the patent describing the principle of the firewall.
The whole situation is quite funny and it surprised me that this patent was granted. Apparently, the investigating officer was not too familiar with the principles of IT security. There is the 6795918 patent which was filed with the United States Patent Office in March 2000. However, the author of the proposal perceived his senselessness and decided not to pay a fee for extending the protection of his “intellectual property”. Consequently, protection of patent 6795918 expired in September 2012. Wetro Lan bought the patent in January 2015.
This so-called invention describes the principle of firewalls that were created in the 1990s. However, the applicant explicitly writes that his system is not a firewall, but a non-configurable package analyser. Wetro Lan was not warmly accepted by Kaspersky Lab’s legal department. That is why the trolls first lowered the required amount to $60,000 and later to $10,000. But Eugene Kaspersky has decided to sue trolling company for $10,000. In the court, the plaintiffs were compromised because they had no idea how Kaspersky Lab products work and how they would violate patent 6795918. Wetro wanted to retreat, but it was too late. It ended up with $5,000 penalty for patent trolls. This is a symbolic amount that does not even cover all the costs associated with the process. However, the message is clear.
Source: Kaspersky Lab