Launch day has officially arrived! Our AOP Team is excited to announce the launch of “Operation Ninja STAR,” a new crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. The goal of the campaign is to create a repository of world-class evidence and business advice around specific, potentially invalid patents. This resource will be made freely available to any small company being attacked by a patent troll. By using crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, AOP aims to raise a minimum goal of $17,500 by January 10thto begin this initiative. When contributions exceed the initial crowdfunding goal, evidence for additional patents will be added to the repository.
To start, our campaign will investigate the validity of U.S. patent 8,180,858, which involves an “apparatus and method that employs selectable and modifiable animation to collect data related to the choices made by the users of an information network.” The patent is owned by Treehouse Avatar Technologies. Beginning in July 2013, Treehouse has sued a number of companies over this patent over the past few years, with a large number of patent assertions against small companies in the summer of 2013. Defendants include a number of small, independent game developers like Bad Pug Games and medium-sized companies including Turbine Entertainment.
Treehouse Avatar Technologies is a patent owner using questionable business practices to sue other companies for infringing its patents. Patent trolls have rendered a number of start-ups powerless against their aggressive suits. Typically, they force the defendants to settle, causing start-ups to divert valuable funding before they can even get their companies off the ground. AOP hopes to stop this mounting problem.
This evidence will be collected into a repository of world-class evidence and general business advice that AOP will make available to help start-ups or small companies who may be threatened over a patent. The repository will be referred to as the Start-up Troll Attack Resource, or “Ninja STAR” for short. When aUsing our community of “patent ninjas”, or international patent researchers, we plan to investigate the quality of issued patents through extensive research and patent technical mapping. The “ninjas” will search resources across the globe in pursuit of evidence proving that certain patents are not unique – therefore making them invalid and not usable for attacks by patent trolls.
If the initial crowdfunding goal is exceeded, contributions will fund additional research to collect evidence related to another threatening patent. This evidence will be added to the Ninja STAR repository. Beyond the initial patent, a panel of experts will assist AOP in determining the most critical patents to study.
As a start-up company, we believe that other start-ups deserve a fair chance at entrepreneurial success without the challenge of litigation from a troll wielding a potentially invalid patent.
This program will help mitigate the initial and substantial cost of dealing with these patent trolls when they come knocking, saving start-ups valuable resources and helping them frame a strategy to respond more efficiently. “Operation Ninja STAR” seeks to raise funds necessary to accomplish the goal while also offering an opportunity for people to get personally involved in shutting down patent trolls and improving the patent system.
While many in the IP space frequently point out problems with the current patent system, we are one of the few taking action to correct these issues.announcement, community, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, Operation Ninja STAR, patent ninja, patent troll, team aop, treehouse avatar technologies