For the last five or ten years, the tech world has been constantly assailed by patent trolls, groups or companies who set out to obtain an obscure patent for a basic functions and then going after big names in the hopes of big cash payouts. They’re difficult and expensive to fight, but in a bizarre case of shifting allegiances, the tech industry could now find itself on the side of one such troll.
Synergistic Solutions Ltd has patented the words “patent troll” as well as the business method of “being a complete arse for money”. While initial hearings on the patent attempted to have it thrown out due to prior art (Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle being notable plaintiffs), the patent was granted, with Synergistic now preparing an extensive legal battle against patent trolls everywhere.
“Some people believe that we’re somehow “the good guys” in all of this” said CEO and sole employee David Mantle, “but the truth is that all the money we gain is coming from legitimate businesses in the first place, we’re just having it funnelled to us through an arbitrary means”. While the company has yet to make any money, investors are cautiously optimistic for a business model that essentially serves as a parasite on other parasites.
However, Synergistic’s reign of mild inconvenience is likely to be short lived. While patent law is notoriously fickle and hard to change, another start-up has patented the idea of a “patent troll troll”, which was followed swiftly by a “patent troll troll troll”, to the extent that no-one is quite sure who is suing who and the entire thing is ending up almost as arbitrary as the Apple/Samsung mobile patent war.
Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them, and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.