Whether it is a copyright troll or a patent troll, today’s society seems to have a troll for just about every general aspect of business life. To be fair, I am not talking about companies who make products and are protecting their rights. The following companies are ones who make nothing, research nothing and do nothing other than sue businesses through a Non-Practicing Entity.
- Use Wi-Fi at work? We have a patent troll for that.
- Use a scanner at work? We have a patent troll for that.
- Use a fax machine at work? We have a patent troll for that.
- Use a computer in general? Heck, we had a patent troll for that.
- Send pictures on your cell phone? We have a patent troll for that as well.
- Watch/send videos on your cell phone? Of course we have a patent troll for that.
Today, we have a new way in which people and businesses are being shaken down for basic business activities. If you are a business with customers who pay their credit cards online, Landmark Technology, LLC, can sue you for patent infringement. Yes, by paying with a credit card online, whether through your phone or computer.
As TechDirt notes, Landmark makes no products and offers no services. However, they own patent 6,289,319 which deals with ‘Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System.’
Landmark has been suing people under several names since 2003 and has gotten tens of thousands of dollars by scaring small businesses into paying them for the ability to stay out of court. Recently, Lockwood has decided to sue Dunkin’ Donuts, Abercrombie & Fitch, Caesar’s Gaming, Hitachi and Harley-Davidson, Louis Vuitton, The Children’s Place, Rubbermaid and others.
Landmark has the same type of business practice that other trolls have in that they simply send demand letters and follow that up with a lawsuit. TrollingEffects.org has an example of a letter sent by Landmark to businesses that supposedly infringe on Landmark’s patents of “network technologies relating to Internet searching, bill pay, and business-to-business transactions.”
Hopefully, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gets the Senate to pass their version of the Innovation Act, which sailed through Congress late last year but has since been watered down due to lobbyists from, among others, patent troll king, Intellectual Ventures.