South Carolina Technology Alliance
Help Support Technology in South Carolina Help Support Technology in South Carolina


June 11, 2015

Letter to the Editor Patent trolls steal from real inventors Some years ago, living in a cheap apartment by Owens Airport, I wrote X-Plane, a flight simulator that lets people pretend they are flying real airplanes on their personal computer or iPhone. Three years ago, a patent troll called “Uniloc” sued me for “patent infringement.” The claim: I “infringed” on Uniloc’s idea by simply using an e-commerce system provided by Google to sell my app. Yes, our law lets you file a piece of paper with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that describes any product in the vaguest of terms, and then sue anyone who actually makes, or even uses, such a product, claiming ownership of the idea. If such self-described “inventors” actually invented something new, then they may have some claim to the idea, but here is the reality: The patent office constantly approves shockingly vague and obvious patents, not matter how old, widely used or even silly the idea. Since defending yourself against a patent infringement lawsuit can cost millions, almost nobody fights these ridiculous lawsuits. So 97 percent of the people sued by patent trolls have to settle, paying as average of $300,000. I am asking Congress to please stand with the American businesses that create goods and services, rather that the patent trolls who sue them. Please support comprehensive patent reform and our economy. Austin Meyer CEO X-Plane