Rackspace Defeats Patent Troll to Nullify Screen Rotation Patent

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Rackspace has defeated patent troll Rotatable Technologies in court, removing a patent from the screen rotation technology common to smartphones and other displays, according to a Rackspace blog post. Other companies sued under the same now invalidated patent include Apple, Netflix, Electronic Arts, and others.

Rotatable sued Rackspace and six other companies in 2013, and demanded $75,000 from Rackspace to settle. Rackspace has a corporate policy not to settle with patent trolls, so it appealed for an inter partes review, which resulted in the judge invalidating the patent.

One or more of the other companies named in the suit by Rotatable may have settled with a common non-disclosure agreement, but any settlement that has not been paid yet will not have to be.

Patent trolls are the most common source of infringement cases in the US, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers 2014 Patent Litigation Study, however Rackspace notes in the blog post that trolls lose 88 percent of cases taken to a final court decision.

Rackspace has a history of fighting patent trolls in court, including a pair of suits in the spring of 2013, and its position is explained in a WHIR interview with corporate counsel Justin Freeman last year.

Patent abuse was recognized as a problem by the White House in June when it recommended legislative changes to curb trolls, however an attempt to pass patent reform legislation broke down in the Senate Judiciary Committee in May.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court has introduced “loser pays” laws into the US legal system, and  a June decision that abstract ideas carried out on a computer are not new inventions has led to a series of victories for software companies. The inter partes review trial proceeding has been applicable to patents since September 2012.

Rackspace encourages other companies to fight trolls and invalidate patents, so those companies which now owe Rackspace a favor can repay it by protecting their own interests.

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