BEV Norton MARSHALL,TX—Would anyone be uncomfortable handing $5 million to someone over a patent? That’s one of the questions that a lawyer for a mysterious company called TQP Development put to a panel of potential jurors here yesterday.

In the process of choosing a jury to preside in TQP’s showdown with online retailer Newegg, more information about TQP has become public.

The company became controversial last year when it earned publicity for suing hundreds of companies over commonly used Web encryption technology. It’s also owned by prolific patent licensor Erich Spangenberg, a man who Newegg’s top lawyer, Lee Cheng, has referred to as a “patent troll.” The demand is actually low by the standards of patent cases that go to trial. It can cost $5 million just to try a patent case, and it’s extremely difficult to do so for less than $2 million. It’s very likely that Newegg could have escaped the case for under $500,000 at some point. 3     

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