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jeremyjh 463 days ago | link | parent

It is called "piercing the veil" - go after the assets of the individuals running a shell company to limit their liability. It is possible but not easy to do if they structure and operate the "company" properly. You would spend a lot of money trying to get them to pay...


beagle3 463 days ago | link

Furthermore, if you do it in a series of shells in different jurisdictions (think countries and continents, not just states), it becomes effectively impossible to pierce - it can cost millions or even tens of millions to pierce a series of 50 companies, even though setting them up and maintaining them can be done for as little as $100K.

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jrs235 463 days ago | link

But doesn't the shell company have to OWN the IP/patent in order to sue? If they lose and can't pay, then transfer the patent to the defendant. Guess it still doesn't completely stop the trolls... Definitely need some bonding.

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benmanns 463 days ago | link

If they lose the case, then the IP/patent is likely worthless.

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beagle3 462 days ago | link

Not necessarily. They can have a "we're allowed to sue on your behalf" agreement with the owner. Also, the patent owner could sell it to them for $5K, wait a couple of years, claim that the value has ballooned to $2T, and let them sue.

(Oh, patent owner also owns troll, but you can't know that without spending a few hundred K$)

And if they lose, the patent apparently is worthless, so not much help there.

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jrs235 461 days ago | link

I assumed that something similar to the RightHaven copyright case might stick... since the troll company doesn't/wouldn't own the IP then they wouldn't have standing to sue...

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/03/judge-orders-fail...

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/righthaven-sham/

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