A T-shirt design from Newegg while they were involved in litigation with a notorious patent troll.Newegg.com
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If you’re in the Bay Area, join us for the filming of our sixth episode of Ars Technica Live, a monthly interview series with fascinating people who work at the intersection of tech, science, and culture.
It’s coming up tomorrow, Wednesday September 21, in Oakland, California, from 7 to 9pm.
Ars editors Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin will be talking to Lee Cheng, the chief legal officer of Newegg.com, about his lifelong war against patent trolls.
Cheng has been the top lawyer at online retailer Newegg since 2005. More than any other corporate lawyer, Cheng has been outspoken about the need to fight “patent trolls”—shadowy entities that exist only to file patent lawsuits. Under his leadership, Newegg adopted a strategy and philosophy of “never settle,” seeing patent troll lawsuits through multi-million dollar trials in tough jurisdictions, even as his competitors paid the trolls to make them go away.
Cheng and Newegg have had so much success, the company doesn’t get sued anymore. (Some potential patent trolls have even dropped litigation within a day.)
At the event, we’ll be talking about how the American legal system has allowed patent trolls to thrive and what to do if a small company gets hit with a demand letter or lawsuit. Doors are at 7pm, and the live taping is from 7:30 to 8:00pm (be sure to get there early if you want a seat).
After, you can stick around for informal discussion at the bar, along with delicious tiki drinks and snacks.
Can’t make it out to Oakland? Never fear! Episodes will be posted to Ars Technica the week after the live events. We also have a Facebook invite page.
Filmed before a live audience in Oakland tiki bar Longitude (347 14th St., Oakland, CA), each episode of Ars Technica Live is a speculative, informal conversation between Ars hosts and an invited guest.
The audience is also invited to join the conversation and ask questions.
These aren’t soundbyte setups; they are deepcuts from the frontiers of research and creativity.
Here’s the cast for this upcoming edition:
Lee Cheng is presently the chief legal officer at Newegg.com.
Before that, he was an attorney at the law firm of Latham & Watkins; served as general counsel at GeneFluidics, a medical device company; and as VP of legal affairs at LightCross, a photonics components and subsystems startup. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in history and science and received his law degree from UC Berkeley.
Cheng was born and grew up in San Francisco but now lives in Southern California with his wife and three kids.
Annalee Newitz is the tech culture editor at Ars Technica. Previously she was the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo and io9.
She is the author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (Doubleday). Her first novel, Autonomous, comes out in 2017 from Tor Books.
Joe Mullin is the tech policy editor at Ars Technica and has sat through more patent trials than is healthy for any non-lawyer. He’s been covering the intersection of law and technology since 2007 and worked for The American Lawyer’s magazine group before joining the tech press.