Recently, Project Paperless LLC, one of several names used to describe a group of patent trolls in possession of patents related to scanning documents and sending them via network has been sending demands to small and mid-size businesses for licensing fees of up to $1,200 per employee.
Several of these businesses are fighting back, however, taking a stand and refusing to pay the amounts demanded. Among these companies is BlueWave Computing, whose owner Steven Vicinanza was able to successfully fight off the $130,000+ charges in licensing fees after a third party complaint was filed and Project Paperless dropped the case and disappeared.
It’s been reported that now, at least eight other shell companies have taken on the Project Paperless patents and are sending similar demands to a number of small-medium sized businesses. These shell companies, all with six letter names like AdzPro or AllLed, are demanding royalties anywhere from $900 to $1,200 per employee of businesses across the country.
In his efforts to fight the Project Paperless demands, Vicinanza noticed that a number of the businesses receiving threats were listed on the “Atlanta’s Best Workplaces” list published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was able to contact many of these businesses and confirm that several of them had received threatening letters charging per-employee based licensing fees.
Many are fearful that patent trolling has reached a new low, with licensing companies now targeting everyday users of common technologies rather than just large tech companies responsible for its production. Now, smaller and smaller companies – many without the financial means to defend themselves in court- are being pursued by trolls.
Vicinanza, and his company BlueWave Computing, was just one of many targets in the Project Paperless patent threats. Businesses across the country are still receiving letters. Hopefully some will be inspired by Vicinanza and his efforts.