Perhaps. But MasterObjects and the law firm representing them do not seem to be discouraged by that. The law firm is most likely working on a contingency basis, meaning that they or a financier (there is an entire industry in America for providing funding for large lawsuits in exchange for a piece of the pie), are investing time and a bit of money (the actual costs of a lawsuit are largely attorney fees and salaries) in expectation of a future payoff. As they are lawyers and they know the system is rigged in their favor, they are making a calculated bet that the outcome will be financially beneficial to them.
Under American law, the loser does not pay the winner's attorney's fees. So there is little risk in filing a frivolous lawsuit against a business. MasterObjects will not be on the hook for the millions of dollars in legal fees the big companies are spending to defend themselves against this frivolous lawsuit. Attorneys never are on the hook for costs of the winners despite the fact that working on contingency and thus are equity partners in the lawsuit.
As far as tort reform goes, that was proposed in the American Congress in the early 2000s and defeated with a filibuster threat (at least regarding medial lawsuits). Why? Because trial lawyers are big political donors, at least to one side of the argument. The last thing the big money lawsuit industry is going to do is reduce their income. If their income goes down, political donations will go down as well. That means concerned parties will fight any "loser pays" laws because parties they represent will have a financial disincentive against filing frivolous lawsuits. These lawsuits cost everyone. Everyone who buys a product or goes to a doctor pays.
Patents were intended to protect the effort and monetary investment made to create novel inventions. The lightbulb was a novel invention. It did not exist before. What the patent system has become is a method of patenting broad ideas with the intention of creating a roadblock to innovation in order to extort money out of others. I've read a number of patents over the years. Some are so ridiculously broad it makes me wonder how they were ever awarded like the patent for a "method of swinging on a swing". And others are nothing more than taking existing technology and putting it together, for which no patent should be awarded in my opinion. Could combining existing CSS3 rules to create animations and other effects be awarded a patent? Should it?
Large companies like Google have spent billions of dollars buying patents for no other reason than to defend themselves against potential and existing lawsuits. That money is completely wasted. An absolute waste. If it comes down to keeping the existing system or abolishing patents altogether, I would favor abolishing patents.
Not true. If there is a dollar to be extorted out of someone, patent trolls will eventually come knocking.
In that article, a patent troll sent out hundreds of letters demanding payment for patent infringement on office equipment like scanners. The state Attorney General went after the troll so nobody was on the hook for payment. But if any one of the recipients of the letter consulted an attorney, that is money out of their pocket. That isn't the first case I have read about and it will not be the last.
Someone went after users of Linux and the court ruled against them. The basis for the patent infringement claim, according to the article, is that mathematical operations were rounded before a computation instead of after. But it doesn't matter, because money was spent defending against the claim.
So if MasterObjects is successful in their frivolous patent claim, I believe they will eventually come after the little guy. The cost of sending letters to thousands of webmasters demanding payment of a few thousand dollars with the threat of a costly lawsuit is small. That is why I was wondering if anyone else is concerned.