Law Schools Join App Developers Alliance to Fight Patent Trolls

By Press Releases
October 15, 2013

Washington, D.C. (October 10, 2013) – The App Developers Alliance is joining with law schools nationwide to help startups battle patent trolls. The Law School Patent Troll Defense Network is a consortium of law school clinics that will provide free legal representation to small app developers and other entrepreneurs that have been threatened or sued by patent trolls. Clinics participating in the Network may also represent the Alliance in major patent cases affecting developers and the app community.

“Too many smash-and-grab patent trolls think startups and small companies are easy roadkill on their path to amassing a portfolio of settlement payments, revenue-share agreements, and equity stakes,” said Alliance President Jon Potter. “By providing free legal services to entrepreneurs that cannot afford quality representation, the Troll Defense Network will help innovators fight back and continue to build great products and create jobs.”

Due to economic constraints and fear, small companies often ignore patent assertion letters or negotiate directly with trolls, without the benefit of legal counsel. Some app publishers have dramatically changed their business and have quashed innovative product features in response to trolls’ assertion letters – though legal counsel may have advised them to stand strong and fight back.

“In Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan we have worked with several companies that are vexed by patent trolls,” said Professor Jonathan Askin, Director of the Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic (“BLIP”) that is participating in the Network. “BLIP was pleased to have been the Alliance’s first partner, and we look forward to working with law schools nationwide in support of entrepreneurs.”

“I believe in IP, and I regularly advise startups to file patent applications,” said Jon Pasky of Chicago’s Pasky IP, a former executive of a social networking company and co-founder of Chicago TechWeek. “But I knew that patent litigation had become abusive when class action and personal injury lawyers started advertising themselves as patent lawyers. I’m glad to see the Patent Law Clinic at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School has joined the Alliance to help local startups.”

“Patent litigation threats facing app developers are real,” said Arthur Yuan, Director of the Patent Clinic at John Marshall Law School. “By participating with the Application Developers Alliance, the John Marshall Law School Patent Clinic’s students will learn real-world skills in these important patent matters while helping individuals in the process.”

Working with one clinic, the Alliance has already made its voice heard in important litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. In September, the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic filed an amicus brief on the Alliance’s behalf in the notorious WildTangent v. Ultramercial case, urging the Court to clarify what is – and is not – patentable subject matter.

“This case is so fundamental that it will impact app developers everywhere,” said USC Law student Michelle Lee. “It has been incredibly rewarding to work with the Alliance on such an important issue for entrepreneurs and innovators.”

The Law School Patent Troll Defense Network includes:

For more information visit http://trolldefensenetwork.org.

 

About the Application Developers Alliance

The Application Developers Alliance is an industry association dedicated to meeting the unique needs of application developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Alliance members include more than 25,000 individual application developers and more than 135 companies in the apps ecosystem.

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