A closely watched case in which a company that claimed to own a patent for on-line shopping carts that most all Internet vendors use sued computer parts retailer Newegg for refusing to pay license fees has ended in a victory for Newegg. The alleged patent owner Chicago-based Soverain Software LLC, had reached settlements with several other on-line retailers but Newegg refused to pay. Soverain won at the trial level against Newegg, but lost when Newegg appealed. That appellate ruling will now stand because the US Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.
The entire issue of so-called patent trolls, companies which do not build or create anything, but exist only to collect patent license fees from other businesses, is pending in Congress. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sponsored legislation aimed at targeting firms which buy or license patents and then extract licensing fees or file infringement lawsuits seen as frivolous.
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