The FBI-style anonymization might seem a little extreme, but ultimately it is making a legitimate point: not only do patent trolls pile on to successful startups, they can also be vindictive towards those who criticize them. The developer describes the snowball effect that patent lawsuits can have:
Even if you fight, and you win, you still put a big bullseye on your back that other patent trolls can look for, because suddenly you’re on their radar and they think maybe you’re wounded and don’t have any more resources to fight.
The developer’s story is familiar. Once a startup crosses a certain threshold of success, the licensing demands start pouring in, followed by the lawsuit threats, followed by the tough choice between settling and fighting. And, of course, these are the kinds of patents that describe broad concepts without actually solving any problems, held by non-practicing entities who develop no products:
We are now being sued by two of them for patents that are as broad as using a website to talk to a server, which is just the building blocks of the internet, to making a font legible on a mobile device. Just basic stuff, and it’s been hugely disruptive to our business.
You’ll regret opening this box.
Room 8 (by Bombay Sapphire)