Rackspace puts trollers on the rack

Rackspace wants to end the terror campaign on IT by patent trolls by following them to their lair and killing them with fire.

The cloud infrastructure service provider has successfully defended itself from a patent infringement lawsuit over Linux and has started a counter attack.

The company has filed a lawsuit against Parallel Iron and IP Nav, a patent assertion entity (PAE) that Rackspace calls “the most notorious patent troll in America”.

Writing in its blog, Rackspace said Parallel Iron sued it and 11 other defendants in Delaware last week for allegedly infringing on three patents that Parallel Iron said cover the use of the open-source Hadoop distributed file system.

It all goes back to 2010 when IP Nav, acting on Parallel Iron’s behalf, accused Rackspace of patent infringement. However, it refused to reveal the details of its claims until Rackspace agreed to a “forbearance agreement,” which held that either side would give the other 30 days notice before suing.

Rackspace agreed but Parallel Iron broke the agreement by suing Rackspace when it became clear it was not going to get what it wanted.

Rackspace has now fired back with its own lawsuit for breach of contract and a declaratory judgment that Rackspace does not infringe on the patents in question.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of Rackspace winning dismissal of a lawsuit from Uniloc, which alleged Linux infringed on a patent it holds connected to processing floating-point numbers.

Rackspace general counsel Alan Schoenbaum wrote that his company was not going to take it anymore,

He said that his company’s goal with this lawsuit is to highlight the tactics that IP Nav uses to divert profits and capital from business.

His goal is that this time the patent troll should pay the company it attacked.

IP Nav claimed in a Federal Trade Commission filing to be a “white hat” entity created to “give the little guy a chance”.

But Schoenbaum said that statement was “laughable” and that there were few trolls more notorious than IP Nav.

He added that there was no such thing as a patent troll that has the best interests of small businesses in mind.

“Instead, IP Nav and Parallel Iron are acting in their own selfish interests and suffocating innovation, while stripping capital away from businesses both large and small,” he wrote.