Startup founder offers free legal help to startups hit by patent troll

Gigaom

Chris Hulls got mugged on payday. The founder of Life360 had just raised $50 million to expand his business, a social network app for families, when a patent troll came calling with an invitation to discuss how Hulls could hand over a cut of that money.

According to the patent troll, Life360 was infringing on its “method of establishing a cell phone network of participants with a common interest” — a description that Hulls believes would apply to anyone using location-based social networks.

Despite the seemingly absurd claim, the economic asymmetries of patent litigation would still have led most companies in this situation to pay the plaintiffs to go away. Hulls, however, took a different route and told the troll what he thought of the claim in a missive that opened “Dear piece of shit.”

That letter was sent in May of last year, and since then Law360 has been battling the troll tooth and…

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