Rackspace Goes After Patent Trolls

Cloud hosting firm Rackspace is on a crusade--to take down so-called "patent trolls" who the firm feels are "brazenly" using questionable tactics to force legitimate businesses to pay them patent licensing fees. Rackspace said Thursday that it has sued two companies--IP Naqv and Parallel Iron--in the federal court in San Antonio, asking for the court to award it damages for breach of contract and to enter a declaratory judgment that Rackspace does not infringe Parallel Iron's patents. IP Naqv had sued Rackspace and other firms over the use of the open source Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

Rackspace--calling IP Naqv the the most notorius patent troll in America--said that they "are a serious threat to business and to innovation" and "We arenít going to take it." Rackspace said that it has seen a 500 percent spike since 2010 in the companyís legal spending to combat patent trolls.

Interestingly enough, the patent move by Rackspace, which is based in San Antonio, pits the high tech industry against another growing industry in Texas--patent litigation. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has become the hub of the patent litigation industry, because of its favorable view of patent plaintiffs. The courts there have gained a reputation for awarding big awards to so called "patent trolls", and a number of those patent holding companies have offices nearby.