RPost Does Not Meet Any Definition of ‘Patent Troll’

By Bob Zeidman
December 5, 2017

Changes to patent law that attempt to weaken the patent system, and decisions that invalidate patents based on section 101 such as the decision at issue in RPost v. GoDaddy, have often been publicly justified as being necessary to stop nasty patent trolls. As I have written and lectured extensively, the term patent troll has no agreed-upon definition, and is used against any patent holder of any kind by infringers and by those who believe there should be no patents.[1],[2]

In reports of this case, Petitioner RPost has been unfairly described as a patent troll.[3], [4], [5] In fact, RPost is a privately held cybersecurity technology company that has been in operation since 2000. For at least the past two years, RPost has been listed as representative of vendors in Gartner’s Market Guide for Electronic Signature.[6], [7] The company has developed and sells four software platform services and products—RMail, RSign, RForms, and RPostal—that help their customers track, record, and prove the content and delivery of an e-mail with less cost, time, paper, and risk. According to its website, these products and services have been used by more than 25 million people throughout the world.[8] Its products have received excellent reviews from recognized industry experts.[9] Microsoft promotes RPost on its partner website for offering “an Outlook add-in that puts advanced email capabilities in the hands of any Microsoft Outlook or Office 365 user.”[10] Its RMail product was even favorably reviewed and recommended by the American Bar Association.[11]

Whether one is sympathetic or opposed to patent trolls, this pejorative term does not apply to RPost. This designation is only being used to cloud the issues. It is an unfortunate tactic used by those who wish to influence the courts and public opinion to weaken the patent system for all inventors. In RPost v. GoDaddy, the Supreme Court has an opportunity to clarify that patent ownership is a constitutionally guaranteed right that encourages and supports innovation and does not discriminate based on the type of business or business model of the patent owner.

For more please read the amicus brief of inventors, entrepreneurs and small business owners filed in support of the Petitioner on December 1, 2017.

_______________

[1] Bob Zeidman, Sloppy, Misleading Yale Paper Challenges University Patenting, IP Watchdog  (July 15, 2014).

[2] Bob Zeidman, The bogeymen destroying the patent system, San Jose Mercury News (April 16, 2014).

[3] laura, Patent trolling, meet RPost, Word to the Wise (September 4, 2013).

[4] Michael Carney, Patent Trolling, Shell Corporations, and Alleged Fraud in the Shadow of the Hollywood Sign, Pando (September 17, 2012).

[5] Shaun Nichols, Go, GoDaddy! Domain-slinger decapitates email patent troll in court, The Register, https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/10/godaddy_prevails_patent_troll_fight (May 10, 2017)

[6] Arielle Castro, RPost Included as a Representative Vendor for Dedicated Email Encryption in Gartner Market Guide for Email Encryption, RPost (February 11, 2016).

[7] Arielle Castro, RPost Listed in Gartner’s Market Guide for Electronic Signature as a Representative Vendor, RPost (February 28, 2017).

[8] RPost, About RPost, retrieved November 23, 2017.

[9] Neil J. Rubenking, RPost Office, PC Magazine (July 26, 2011).

[10]  RPost, Microsoft (2017)

[11] Alan Pearlman, RPost Registered E-Mail, American Bar Association (June 2007)

The Author

Bob Zeidman

Bob Zeidman is one of the leading experts on intellectual property, particularly as it relates to software. He is the president and founder of Zeidman Consulting, a premier contract research and development firm in Silicon Valley that focuses on engineering consulting to law firms about intellectual property disputes. Clients have included Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Intel, Symantec, Texas Instruments, and Zynga. Bob is also the president and founder of Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering Corporation, the leading provider of software intellectual property analysis tools for use in forensic examinations. Bob is considered a pioneer in the fields of analyzing and synthesizing software source code. He has worked on and testified in over 150 cases involving billions of dollars in disputed IP.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 6 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Bemused December 5, 2017 10:34 am

    Patent Troll: What an infringer calls a patent owner when they don’t want to license a validly issued and infringed U.S. patent.

  2. EG December 5, 2017 4:28 pm

    Hey Bemused,

    Here’s my take. Patent Troll: The pejorative that a large multinational and efficient infringer slurs a patent owner with when they don’t want to license a validly issued and infringed U.S. patent.

  3. Night Writer December 5, 2017 9:42 pm

    Before the below happens, I ask that all the professors of Santa Clara university review the ethics of Colleen Chien and, in particular, to review the papers she has published in law “journals” and articles she has published in newspapers. Professor Chien is just a half step behind Mark Lemley in being a highly unethical propagandist who wants to burn the patent system down.

    We’re excited to share some great news: Today, the Santa Clara Law faculty recommended Brian Love for tenure and promotion to associate professor and Colleen Chien for promotion from associate professor to full professor. (The recommendations require full university approval, but it’s expected). Colleen and Brian are cherished faculty members who play essential roles in the High Tech Law Institute and our law school community, and we are thrilled to celebrate their accomplishments and success.

  4. People believe this stuff? December 6, 2017 11:42 am

    I suspect you’re wrong. Look at their revenue from patent assertion v. product revenue. Phony/sham product offerings to mask troll activity don’t make you a legitimate product/services entity. That’s not to say the small inventor/licensor model makes you a troll either. But be honest about what your purpose it. If it’s to find a partner to develop and market your invention, you’re not a troll. If it’s to extract settlements by over broadly asserting your patents with no intent to bring your invention to market, then you ARE a troll.

  5. Gene Quinn December 6, 2017 11:54 am

    People believe this stuff? —

    It seems that you offer opinion and don’t contest any of the facts asserted in the article, but still somehow believe the article is wrong.

    Do you disagree that the American Bar Association has recommended and favorably reviewed RMail?

    Do you disagree that Microsoft on their own website characterizes RPost as a partner?

    Do you disagree that RPost is listed as a vendor in Gartner’s Market Guide?

    It seems to come to your opinionated disbelief you have to ignore the facts. And yet your anonymous name is “People believe this stuff?” Interesting. It would seem that the question should be thrown back at you. People actually believe what you wrote? I suppose if you don’t care about facts they might.

  6. angry dude December 8, 2017 10:14 am

    People believe this stuff? @4

    “If it’s to extract settlements by over broadly asserting your patents with no intent to bring your invention to market, then you ARE a troll”

    Dude, you are either on infringer’s payroll or have no idea what you are talking about
    You can only assert your (valid) patent claims as granted by the PTO and nothing broader than that

    Products and markets have nothing to do with patent system, NOTHING

    Patents are issued on inventions, not products

    And your “intent” means nothing if big infringer’s intent is to steal your patented tech for free
    you can write them all you want – they won’t even respond until you sue them in district court

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