Rotatable Technologies is now an ex-patent troll. I say “ex-troll” because its patent, US Pat. No. 6,326,978, has been declared unpatentable by the US Patent and Trademark Office in response to a challenge (called an Inter Partes Review, or IPR) filed by Rackspace. This continues our streak of challenging, and winning, against patent trolls.
Let’s rewind: Last year, a patent troll called Rotatable Technologies sued Rackspace. Rotatable owned a patent that it claimed covers the screen rotation technology that comes standard in just about every smartphone. You know, when you flip your device sideways and the screen shifts orientation from portrait mode to landscape mode? Like nearly all the apps in the Apple and Android app stores, Rackspace uses standard functionality provided by Apple’s libraries and Android open source software to provide this display feature in our mobile cloud applications.
Rotatable sued us and immediately asked for $75,000 to go away. We refused. And we fought. It’s Rackspace policy to not pay off patent trolls, even if it costs us more to fight. Eventually Rotatable offered to just walk away – but we refused again. Just as we promised last year, we challenged the patent and the USPTO invalidated it.
This means that Rackspace will not pay one penny to this troll, nor will Apple, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Target, Whole Foods or any of the other companies sued by Rotatable for how they use screen rotation technology in their apps.
According to recent studies, patent trolls lose 88 percent of the time when defendants go all the way. With some of the recent changes in the law it is also much easier for those of us who are sued by a troll to recoup our fees from these extortion attempts, validating our business decision to pursue every case to the hilt.
We are still fighting some of the trolls that have come after us and we expect to win those cases too. Without changes in the law we believe that the only way to end the plague of patent trolls is by fighting every troll that comes at us – and we encourage all others to do the same.