Lee Cheng is one of the few attorneys to fight back against patent trolls and prevail. And at the latest Ars Live event, we talked to him about his most famous case, how people can fight patent trolls today, and what the future of patent abuse will look like in coming decades. His answers, as expected, were incredibly candid and hilarious.
In 2007, a patent troll known as Soverain had already gotten millions of dollars out of The Gap and Amazon for their online shopping cart patent when they hit Newegg with a suit. Cheng's colleagues in the legal community said you'd better just pay up—this patent is legit. Cheng didn't see it that way. Newegg had just reached a billion in sales, and he thought this piece of litigation would be the first of many lawsuits brought by companies that wanted a piece of Newegg's success. And sure enough, soon after the shopping cart claim, Newegg was hit with patent claims on several aspects of online search. Cheng decided he wasn't going to lie down and take it. He thought he could win on appeal if he could just make it through the courts in the Eastern District of Texas, where 40 percent of patent infringement claims are brought.
from “Patents are bulls–t,” says Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng