Patent Trolls on a Suing Spree

Patent trolls have set their sights, and financial plans, on DSL equipment. A company by the name of Brandywine Communications Technologies has filed numerous lawsuits, claiming that ISPs have violated DSL-related patents that Brandywine claims to hold.

To date, Brandywine has sued over 39 different service providers.

In addition to filing a lawsuit against AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink last year, the company has sued Windstream, IKANO and Megapath. It is also currently trying to settle one of its cases with EarthLink.

While NTCA has received no reports from members about lawsuits, members have received letters from Brandywine stating that the members has violated a patent, “by offering service and/or equipment and operating DSL equipment in the United States.” Brandywine claims to have suffered damages and requests that it be contacted to “discuss appropriate resolution.”

Brandywine is the latest so-called “patent troll” to emerge, but they are unlikely to be the last. Patent disputes have been an ongoing issue in the wireline and wireless segments. A recent report stated that patent infringement lawsuits have increased over the past five years from 22% of all patent lawsuits file to 40%.

NTCA is tracking the issue to determine if we may assist our members who are sued or may be sued by Brandywine. If you receive communication regarding a DSL patent violation, please contact us so that we may better serve you.

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