Doubleclick co-founder Kevin O'Connor's new business is a company called Find the Best, and it's attracted a legal threat from a patent troll called Lumen View, who assert a patent over "multilateral decision making" (it appears they've collected some big paydays from various dating and job-finding sites with this one). Rather than settle, O'Connor's pledged $1M of his own money to fight the patent, and has filed a countersuit alleging that Lumen View violates the RICO organized crime statute.
In response, Lumen has sent a threat to O'Connor, saying that calling them patent trolls is a "hate crime" ("I didn't know patent trolls were a protected class" – O'Connor) and threatening to seek criminal charges if O'Connor doesn't pay them a bunch of money and apologize.
FindTheBest's RICO lawsuit uses language like "extortion" to describe Lumen View's business practices.
The suit has several tacks. First, it claims that FTB couldn't possibly infringe a patent that clearly describes two or more people entering a preference—FindTheBest's system only handles the preference of one user at a time.
In fact, Lumen didn't do "any meaningful pre-filing investigation," the suit alleges, and that's part of the problem. Lumen simply did "a broad internet search for companies that offer any type of matching service… Because the concept of matching two parties is as old as Adam and Eve, this general search reveals numerous company websites." The company's expert witness not only hadn't investigated FindTheBest's services—he'd never heard of the target company, according to O'Connor.
The threat letter is also full of barely veiled threats that Lumen will make the lawsuit as expensive as possible. In fact, the majority of the letter describes how the defendant company must take drastic steps to collect all its electronic and other documents now that it has been sued—if it doesn't, sanctions may occur, says Lumen.
FindTheBest also argues that Lumen's attorney made the claim that calling someone a "patent troll" was actually a "hate crime" under "Ninth Circuit precedent." After O'Connor contacted Shapiro, Lumen View attorney Wasserbauer threatened to file criminal charges—unless FindTheBest settled the civil case immediately, apologized, and gave financial compensation to Shapiro. The offer was "good until close of business that day," Wasserbauer allegedly said.
Angry entrepreneur replies to patent troll with racketeering lawsuit [Joe Mullin/Ars Technica]