July 29, 2009, 12:23 pm
A small Web development and open source software company called CityWare was recently named alongside Google, Yahoo, Amazon and other software giants in a patent infringement lawsuit. What makes this unusual is that CityWare has no products or customers and no longer exists. The company was formed by software developer Nate Neel in 2004, but folded soon after due to lack of customers.
The art of patent trolling has inherited an important maxim from the real estate business: location is everything. The defunct company became the victim of a patent infringement lawsuit because it was operating in the Eastern District of Texas, a jurisdiction that is notoriously friendly to patent trolls. Bedrock Computer Technologies, the company that filed the patent suit, likely named CityWare in the suit solely to increase the chances of having the case heard in that region.