Serverside: Asserting Patent Laws Don't Make It A 'Troll'

Your article "Banks, CUs Join to Stamp Out Check 21 Patent Troll" dated June 27 discussed "patent trolls" and "meritless patent lawsuits brought by non-practicing entities looking for deep pockets and easy money." You referred to a patent infringement suit recently filed in Delaware by Serverside Group Limited & Serverside Graphics, Inc. Readers may come away with the false impression that the Serverside plaintiffs are "patent trolls" and/or "non-practicing entities." I would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight with your readers, accordingly please publish this letter.

My brother Adam and I founded the Serverside Group of companies specifically for the purpose of commercializing the digital card-customization technology that we were developing. We now have around fifty employees as well as numerous customers, including major financial institutions worldwide.

Patents exist and are respected in developed countries because they allow businesses to invest in research and development with some comfort that the fruits of their hard work cannot simply be copied with impunity. If an investor cannot advance money with some certainty in the outcome then entrepreneurs and organizations will not pursue innovative projects. Ultimately, anyone in business knows that would quickly prove to be disastrous.

Our particular experience is illustrative. With patentable technology in hand, we were able to secure the necessary funding and human capital to create and develop the card customization market. Millions of dollars and countless hours of time (our own as well as that of our colleagues) went into these efforts. Now, however, we are in the unpleasant position of watching other companies exploit the fruits of our investments. We believe that they have unfairly copied our technology. Thankfully, however, the United States Patent & Trademark Office has recently granted us multiple patents based on our card customization inventions. Other patent offices around the world have done the same. Having these patents allows us to take steps to protect our business and the livelihoods of our employees. We filed the litigation to which you refer precisely for this purpose. We are not a "non-practicing entity" and we are certainly not a "patent troll."

Tom Elgar, CTO
Serverside Group, London, England