RICO laws were passed to go after mobsters. Attempts to use them against patent trolls haven’t succeeded.

Julián Rodriguez Orihuela

Last year, consumer search website FindTheBest tried to use an anti-extortion law to fight back against Lumen View Technology, a patent troll that attacked it with a “matchmaking” patent. While FindTheBest was able to knock out Lumen’s patent in short order, its lawsuit based on the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act came to an end this week.
The judge’s opinion recounts some of the facts that led up to the RICO case, such as Lumen’s attorney, Damian Wasserbauer, accusing FindTheBest CEO Kevin O’Connor of committing a “hate crime” for using the term “patent troll” against one of Lumen’s owners.
“The courts of appeals which have addressed the question have all agreed that the instigation of meritless litigation does not establish the predicate RICO act of extortion,” wrote US District Judge Denise Cote in her opinion (PDF). “Recognizing such litigation as a predicate RICO act would give complainants unprecedented access to federal courts and the treble damage remedy authorized under RICO. Moreover, allowing these suits to proceed as RICO suits risks chilling parties’ resort to the judicial system to resolve their disputes.”
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