Supreme Court Helps Newegg Slay a Patent Troll

Paul Lilly

Supreme Court effectively sides with Newegg

It's the end of the road for software firm Soverain Software LLC in a patent infringement case filed against Newegg. Rather than fork over funds to a company perceived as being a patent troll attempting to extort cash by enforcing weak and obvious patents. Newegg let the U.S. legal system run its course as the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which refused to listen to Soverain Software's claims.

Let's back up a moment. According to Reuters , Soverain Software sued Newegg for infringing three "shopping cart patents," which are patents that describe a way to buy products on the web and pay for them. Soverain won its case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, but then lost at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on the basis that the patents were obvious.

Soverain sought to overturn the ruling by taking its case to the Supreme Court, while Newegg argued that it should be upheld, saying that all the patent does is apply the common sense concept of a shopping cart to the Internet. It was such a weak case on the part of Soverain that the Supreme Court opted to ignore it altogether.

"The witch is dead, hurray," Newegg's chief legal officer, Lee Cheng, said in reaction to the decision. "We are very, very pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized...these patents should never have been granted in the first place. What we have showed in the Soverain case is the fighting back works."

As expected, Soverain was disappointed with the decision. "It's a really tough time to be a patent owner," Soverain president Katharine Wolanyk said.

Image Source: Flickr ( aka Jens Rost )

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