PublishedMarch 29, 2010

One is Fun, But Twice is Nice

Last week, Microsoft got taken to the cleaners in an East Texas patent infringement case to the tune of over $100 million. With the patent system in shambles, these days even six figure damages don’t come as much of a surprise.

It’s when you dig deeper that the case becomes interesting. The plaintiff in the case is the previously unheard of VirnetX. Boycott Novell, among others, has identified them as a classic troll. Not surprisingly, they’ve never sold a product. The five year-old company has but 12 employees.

However, most of the NPEs we’ve encountered have unleashed their broad patents to take out a slew of large companies—sometimes up to 20 or 30. However, VirnetX doesn’t fit this mold. As Seattle PI points out, it appears to have been formed for the express purpose of suing Microsoft—and only Microsoft—regarding VPN technology patents.

Indeed, just a week after its big win, VirnetX is going back to the well. They’ve filed yet another infringement suit against Microsoft, this time over Windows Vista and XP. And sure enough, they’re counting on the District of East Texas to double down on its unwavering support of troll behavior.

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