A White Knight Settles with His Patent Troll

RenFairKnightI’ve written previously about Adam Carolla’s battle with the patent troll that had sued his podcast.  Well, now he has settled with that company.  The case was set to go to trial in just a month (cases often settle as the parties evaluate the expense that goes into those last pre-trial preparations).  And, unfortunately, the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Just a month ago, the plaintiff had actually tried to dismiss its lawsuit against Carolla (plaintiffs can chose to drop a lawsuit although, depending on when they do so, they may or may not be able to bring another lawsuit at a later date on the same issues).  But Carolla was not going to go quietly in the night.  He had already filed counterclaims against the plaintiff (that’s when the defendant countersues the plaintiff – sometimes for issues related to the same fight started by the plaintiff, sometimes for completely unrelated issues) and he wasn’t going to dismiss them.

These type of counterclaims often happen in patent infringement lawsuits – the plaintiff claims that the defendant is violating the plaintiff’s patent, but then the defendant files a counterclaim to have the court rule that the patent is actually invalid.  The plaintiff may then drop the lawsuit in order to avoid having a court rule that its patent is invalid, because such a ruling would prevent it from filing suit against other parties on that same patent.

So this lawsuit is over – dismissed before a court could hold whether the plaintiff’s patent is actually valid.  (While the US patent office does their best to determine whether patent applications are up to all required standards before granting an actual patent, the system isn’t perfect so there are several procedures that can be used after the patent is issued to challenge whether the invention is actually entitled to a patent.)

Kudos to Adam for fighting as long as he did, even though I would have loved to see him in court.  I wish I knew what the settlement terms were and it will be interesting to see if this plaintiff tries to sue other defendants for infringing this same patent.


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Jessica has been litigating business and IP disputes for the past decade. During that time, she’s dealt with clients, lawyers, and judges who have varying degrees of appreciation for the challenges of managing discovery in an electronic age. Until the fall of 2011, she was an attorney at a large, Texas-based law firm, where she represented clients in state and federal court nationwide. That fall, she made a long-desired move back to the Midwest and is now a partner at Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC, a litigation boutique based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she continues to litigate while also consulting with business and law firms on e-discovery issues (before, during, and after litigation arises).