Patent-owning companies are used to non-practicing entities (patent trolls) trying to cash in on their innovations and mistakes. However, Cloudfare has survived seven years without a lawsuit – until now.
Cloudflare, the Internet security company, and content delivery network have openly claimed that they will not pay a nuisance settlement, and will instead be going all-out to fight Blackbird Technologies LLC. Blackbird was founded by two former big-firm lawyers and have amassed dozens of patents and filed more than 100 lawsuits. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says Blackbird is a classic “patent troll,” and potentially dangerous.
Cloudfare filed its responsive papers to the court this week and have also sent letters to state bar regulatory committees in Massachusetts and Illinois, asking them to investigate Blackbird further.
Matthew Prince released a statement in a blog post claiming that in addition to beating a patent he views as invalid, he intends to look into Blackbird’s operations further “and expose how patent trolls really operate.” By Cloudflare’s count, Blackbird has filed 107 cases since 2014, making it “one of the most prolific trolls in the United States.”
“Cloudflare will not settle this case and doesn’t plan to settle any patent troll case, ever,” says Prince. In addition, Cloudflare will spend $50,000 to crowdsource prior art that could invalidate Blackbird’s patents. By issuing the prior art “bounty,” Cloudflare seeks not just to invalidate the patent asserted against Cloudflare, but of any of the 37 other patents and applications owned by Blackbird.
Contacted by Ars, Blackbird founder Wendy Verlander declined to comment on any ongoing litigation but said in an e-mail that she is “quite confident we are not violating any ethics rules in any of our cases.”