Unified Patents raises money from companies that are the target of patent-trolling and then uses it to challenge the most widely used patents in each of its members' sectors: now it's going for the gold.
Unified is challenging three patents at once: Shipping & Transit's patent on bus-tracking (the basis of 500+ lawsuits, most against cities' transit authorities); Uniloc's patent on DRM; and Sportbrain Holdings' patent on wearable health monitors.
Collectively, these patents account for 15% of all of America's tech patent litigation.
Each of the three patent campaigns is based on its own fanciful history of technology.
The hundreds of demand letters from Shipping & Transit tell the story of inventor Martin Kelly Jones, who conceived his inventions "on a rainy, foggy Atlanta morning" in 1985. The idea was to create a vehicle tracking system combined with automated calling, which would notify parents of school children when a school bus would be arriving. He filed his first patent application in 1993.
Jones' BusCall business had trouble growing beyond a few clients. In demand letters, Jones' lawyers blame that on "widespread copying and infringement of his technologies." Jones "was thus left with no other way to protect his rights and 20+ years of hard work" except to file patent infringement lawsuits.
Many of the original Jones patents have expired, but the lawyers continue to assert US Patent No. 6,415,207, which is unexpired and has now been challenged by Unified.
Unified Patents files legal challenges against top three patent trolls of 2016
[Joe Mullin/Ars Technica]