Friday 9 August 2013

Keeping Tabs on “Patent Trolls”: "Trolling Effects"

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently released its “Trolling Effects” website.  The purpose of the website is to collect information, specifically cease and desist letters [C&D letters] sent by “patent trolls,” and provide a “one-stop shop” for resources concerning “patent trolls” and their impact on the patent system.  Unlike the somewhat similar Chilling Effects Clearinghouse website, which collects C&D letters across the IP disciplines, but particularly copyright C&D letters, “Trolling Effects” is specifically aimed at “patent trolls.” 

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse website, in addition to its database of C&D letters, provides advice concerning intellectual property law for folks who receive C&D letters and offers a “weather report” on the chilling effect of intellectual property law enforcement on the Internet.  Notably, the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse website has provided a source of C&D letters that allow interested parties to find potential abusive cease and desist letters to “shame” intellectual property owners who may attempt to stop lawful activity through overreaching claims.  The “Trolling Effects” website is designed to help figure out who exactly are the “patent trolls.”  The blog at the website states:

The new site will gather information that's usually kept secret and put it to two important uses:

  1. Give those facing troll threats information about the specific threats (including who is really sending them), along with general information about patent law and the system that might help them navigate the legal process and better understand their options.
  2. Collect sorely needed data for journalists, academics, and policy makers, helping them better understand the scope of the patent troll problem and allowing them to make a better case for real reform.

In a very short period of time, the website has already collected a number of C&D letters.   Any opinions on how effective the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse website has been?   Will “Trolling Effects” be as or more effective? 

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