RUSSIAN TRUMP WORRIER and security company Kaspersky has done something that few people manage to pull off: it has taken on a patent troll and won money of the money grubbing IP bandit.
Kaspersky managed to turn the patent troll game on its head and got the troll to pay up to end the case. This will be great news to any firm that has suffered financially at the hands of trolls, and terrible news for those companies that do business by ruining other peoples' businesses.
The patent here concerned internet firewalls, it was granted in 2000 despite firewall technology having been around for almost two decades already, and as a patent has been derided by groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Wetro Lan is the company that sued Kaspersky over the patent and ArsTechnica said that in the past this has been a winning formula for the Wetro crew. However, not this time.
Ars reports that the Wetro claims were flimsy by the time they got to Kaspersky and adds that the firm seemed to be digging away in the hope of getting any money at all. It reports that the requested settlement fee had fallen and fallen over the duration of the case, so that by the end the firm was hoping for a $10,000 payout. Kaspersky, having done its legal searches, was not having any of that, and suggested that Wetro give it $10,000 and sodded off.
Kaspersky's lead lawyer Casey Kniser suggested that the outfit is made up of chancers and that the Russians were not going to suckered by them. He told Ars that Kaspersky would not send a dime the Wetro way, but did like the sound of $10,000.
"We said, actually, $10,000 is fine," said Kniser. "Why don't you pay us $10,000?" Wetro lawyers got this down to £5,000, and presumably everyone started whooping and high-fiving each other and mentally spending $5,000. "From our point of view, we had a winning case," Kniser added. "We had invalidity contentions that were good. For that effort, we didn't want to pay them money. It didn't seem fair that they should be able to just walk away."
Writing on his own blog Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO at the firm said that champagne had been cracked open and that it is smiles all round at his firm.
"it's not just any old victory; it's truly a landmark one. Indeed, our shooing off Wetro Lan with its tail between its legs will go down in the annals of patent law as a crucial precedent, since no one before has ever secured a victory like we just have: we not only forced the troll to withdraw its lawsuit; we also got it to pay us compensation!," he said.
"Ok, so the compensation was merely symbolic - it covered only a tiny fraction of our costs for defending ourselves - but, well, you know what they say: the first blow is half the battle…" µ
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