The Project Jengo Saga: How Cloudflare Stood up to a Patent Troll – and Won!

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The Project Jengo Saga: How Cloudflare Stood up to a Patent Troll – and Won!

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Remember 2016? Pokemon Go was all the rage, we lost Prince, and there were surprising election results in both the UK and US. Back in 2016, Blackbird Technologies was notorious in the world of patent litigation. It was a boutique law firm that was one of the top ten most active patent trolls, filing lawsuits against more than 50 different defendants in a single year.

In October 2016, Blackbird was looking to acquire additional patents for their portfolio when they found an incredibly broad software patent with the ambiguous title, “PROVIDING AN INTERNET THIRD PARTY DATA CHANNEL.” They acquired this patent from its owner for $1 plus “other good and valuable consideration.” A little later, in March 2017, Blackbird decided to assert that patent against Cloudflare.

As we have explained previously, patent trolls benefit from a problematic incentive structure that allows them to take vague or abstract patents that they have no intention of developing and assert them as broadly as possible. Instead, these trolls collect licensing fees or settlements from companies who are otherwise trying to start a business, produce useful products, and create good jobs. Companies facing such claims usually convince themselves that settlements in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are quicker and cheaper outcomes than facing years of litigation and millions of dollars in attorneys fees.

The following is how we worked to upend this asymmetric incentive structure.

The Game Plan


After we were sued by Blackbird, we decided that we wouldn’t roll over. We decided we would do our best to turn the incentive structure on its head and make patent trolls think...

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