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Angry entrepreneur replies to patent troll with racketeering lawsuit | Ars Technica


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Most business owners sued by patent trolls don't talk about it to anyone other than their lawyer; a typical response is to cross one's fingers and hope the problem goes away. It won't, of course. Often they do the next best thing—hope it will go away for as little money as possible.

FindTheBest CEO Kevin O'Connor, who also cofounded online ad giant DoubleClick, decided several weeks ago he would talk about it—publicly, and often. O'Connor wrote to tech sites like PandoDaily telling them of his determination to "slaughter" the troll, the "scum of the earth." And in August, he pledged $1 million of his own money to fight the troll that went after his company.

Now, we're getting a vision of how FindTheBest is putting that money to use. The company has made a novel legal claim, saying that the troll that came after it is so reckless, it has engaged in outright extortion, violating racketeering laws.

The claim follows an investigation of the troll that sued the startup. The investigation started when O'Connor and FindTheBest Director of Operations Danny Seigle simply started making phone calls. "The first thing you think is, who the hell are these guys?" O'Connor ultimately called the lead inventor listed on the patent, which describes a system for "multilateral decision-making."

That set in motion a bizarre series of events. Lumen View's lawyer accused O'Connor of committing a "hate crime" by calling the inventor, Eileen Shapiro of Hillcrest Group. ("I didn't know patent trolls were a protected class," quips O'Connor.) Then the lawyer threatened criminal charges (again, for calling an inventor). From there, it got personal.

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