Yesterday I mentioned Ubicomm and their patent trolling based on an ancient Xerox patent they acquired earlier this year. I think the mere fact that Xerox sold the patent says all we need to know about how applicable it is.
The other patent troll in the email space right now is RPost. Steve did a blog post about RPost patent trolling about a year ago.
This summer, RPost’s legal team started calling different companies in the email space. I got a call the first week in July. After introducing himself as their lawyer and reassuring me he was not sending me legal threats, he started to ask all sorts of questions about our technology. I declined to answer any of them.
The lawyer then said he had some paperwork to send me and asked for an email address. I told him we do not accept legal service by email and that he could send me any relevant paperwork to our address of record. If I had any questions about RPost having a real product, it was answered when the lawyer didn’t tell me that RPost technology is all about secure delivery of legal papers.
Others in the email space started reporting similar calls and letters from RPost around the same time.
It’s been 2 months (almost to the day) since RPost’s lawyer called me and we have yet to receive anything from them. Clients of mine, however, have received papers from RPost. The papers instruct recipients to read RPost’s patents and notify RPost if they are infringing.
Yes, RPost are such cheapskates they expect their target companies to do the work identifying any potential infringement. Or possibly it’s just that they have so little money they can’t afford to pay their legal team. Certainly my experience is that telling them to send us postal mail is enough expense? time? to stop them from moving forward.
My recommendations to anyone receiving a letter from RPost (or anyone else claiming patent infringement) are pretty simple.
- Talk to your legal team. This is what you pay them for and they’re going to give you the best advice.
- Do not respond unless your legal team tells you to. RPost needs to do their own legal work and state a cause of action before anyone should take them seriously.
- Do not read the patents unless your legal team tells you to. RPost needs to do their own legal work and state an actual claim rather than relying on their targets to volunteer infringing activity.
And, well, that’s about it. Pass it up to your legal team and then forget about it.