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NPE Showcase – Triumph IP


This is the latest in the series titled “NPE Showcase,” where we discuss high-volume non-practicing entities (or as some call them, “patent trolls”). This installment will focus on a company named Triumph IP.

Triumph IP claims to own a patent on technology that is vital to the 802.11 WiFi protocol—specifically, a feature relating to collision detection and channel switching. This is fairly common among NPEs both large and small. The NPE will claim to own a wireless standard and then sue a company that is using the standard. The question then becomes whether the patent actually covers the standard. If it does, the defendant likely infringes because everyone uses the standard.

You might be asking how an NPE could own a patent directed to a wireless standard. Standards are created by standard setting organizations in conjunction with companies who create technology. These companies urge the standard setting organization to implement the company’s technology in exchange for a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory license fee (also referred to as a “FRAND” fee). Indeed, it is precisely because of patents that we have wireless standards such as 5G, 802.11, and others. Technology companies would not collaborate without the protection of their patents and the associated license fees they hope to obtain.

Then there are companies like Triumph IP. They own a patent they claim is broad enough to cover technology related to the standard but that was never contributed during the process of setting the standard. In other words, Triumph IP is not obligated to accept a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory license fee because its patents were not part of the package of patents used to create the standard. Triumph IP argues the patent nonetheless covers an essential part of the standard and they are now suing a broad swath of defendants to exploit the patent.

Triumph IP is an IP Edge entity, meaning their lawsuits never reach trial (at least not yet) and are often settled quickly. But Triumph IP lawsuits appear to extend a bit longer than the typical IP Edge litigation and it is unclear if this is because of slow litigants or a higher settlement demand from the patent owner.


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