A little-known company, PersonalWeb, is going after a number of tech giants, alleging that they have infringed its patents. It has lodged patent lawsuits against IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo as well as Rackspace. Rackspace is being sued for having infringed its patents by hosting Github.
The lawsuits seem to hold little truth since many analysts have lambasted PersonalWeb as simply a patent troll who is seeking to settle with the tech giants by bringing up obscure patent technologies.
According to Rackspace’s Chief Technology Officer, John Engates, “It’s apparent that the people filing the suit don’t understand the technology or the products enough to realise that Rackspace Cloud Servers and GitHub are completely different products from different companies.”
The whole point of contention are a few patents which were originally owned by Kinetech. In 2000, it sold its patent portfolio to PersonalWeb and Level 3 Communications. Although Level 3 Communications isn’t directly involved in the patent assault, the company has been named in the case filing because of its legal co-ownership of the patents.
Referring to the sheer meaninglessness of the lawsuit filed against Rackspace, Engates called PersonalWeb “a patent troll looking for a settlement.” This image is further reaffirmed by the fact that PersonalWeb also lodged six other patent suits against HP, Amazon, EMC, NetApp, Google and Caringo back in December last year.
PersonalWeb is probably optimistic that it may be able to mint something out of these patent suits. One of the key reasons for this optimism is that the company is based in Texas, which is considered one of such districts where patent lawsuits win more often than not.
Source: Patent filing