“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a patent troll in possession of a good portfolio must be in want of a victim.”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Patent Trolls
So, you might expect that I would have been surprised to learn that US-based non-practising entity (NPE) Vringo Infrastructure Inc has commenced patent infringement proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against the local subsidiary of Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation.
I confess I was a little surprised, until I remembered who Vringo is, and where I had seen the company’s name before, and realised that this lawsuit is not typical ‘troll’ activity, but is more likely part of a global patent licensing strategy conducted at least partly for the benefit of the very much practising entity, Nokia.
As I shall explain further, I do not consider Vringo to be a patent troll – at least not when it comes to the patents at issue in the dispute with ZTE. However, I have to acknowledge that a number of online media outlets have used the ‘t-word’ in relation to Vringo, e.g. smartcompany.com.au and itwire.com (and again, here).