Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 17, 2014, 5:00pm

PLANO, Texas (Legal Newsline) - A Texas-based patent licensing company is taking aim at "extortionist" demand letters sent by so-called patent "trolls."

On Monday, Conversant Intellectual Property Management launched what it describes as an "educational campaign" against the use of the letters. It contends the letters are "victimizing" thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Demand letters -- the crux of the current patent reform debate -- are often sent by patent trolls in an attempt to enforce or assert rights in connection with a patent or a pending patent.

Generally speaking, patent trolls are those patent assertion entities or non-practicing entities that purchase groups of patents without an intent to market or develop a product and then target other businesses with lawsuits.

"Sending ill-founded patent demand letters may be legal, but it's just plain wrong," John Lindgren, president and CEO of Conversant, said Monday.

"This practice is hurting small business owners financially. It's giving legitimate patent licensing a bad name. And it's seriously undermining the public's belief in the U.S. patent system and the value of patents as stimulants to innovation and economic growth."

Conversant, which has offices in Plano, Texas, said the goal of its Stand Up to the Demand campaign is to help small businesses spot unscrupulous letters.

The first phase of the campaign includes a video, an infographic quiz, a comparison of a sample bad demand letter to a legitimate notice letter, and links to other resources that help people identify and respond to demand letters.

Visitors to the campaign's website also are invited to share their stories of dealing with demand letters.

Conversant argues that patent licensing companies such as itself should take the lead in curbing patent abuses within their own industry.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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