EFF challenges patent troll’s vaporous claim to the emailing of USPS tracking numbers

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So we live in a world where a guy can’t begin to sell vaping-related goods over the Internet without being shaken down by a patent troll claiming a legal right to the courtesy of sending USPS tracking codes via email.

From an Electronic Frontier Foundation press release:

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, EFF is representing Jason Cugle, who last year began running a small business selling accessories for electronic cigarettes. Cugle, a Maryland resident, received a letter accusing his company and website (Triple7vaping.com) of violating Shipping & Transit’s patents, which relate to ideas for monitoring and reporting the status of delivery vehicles. Cugle simply sent customer shipments through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and manually emailed each customer a message saying the package had been shipped and providing the USPS tracking number. Florida-based Shipping & Transit claims its patents cover a variety of methods of notifying people when a vehicle is about to reach its destination, including Cugle’s.

“The claims are absurd. Not only did three of the four patents expire two years before Mr. Cugle started his mail order business, they are not valid in the first place and he hasn’t infringed anything,” said EFF Staff Attorney Vera Ranieri. “What is worse, Shipping & Transit tried to force Mr. Cugle to sign a vaguely-worded affidavit swearing that he wasn’t using ‘monitoring systems’ and threatened him with a document that made it look like there was a lawsuit against him, though the complaint wasn’t filed in any court. These are the tactics of patent trolls who hope to intimidate and bully innocent people and businesses into paying them money to avoid the high costs of a lawsuit.”

Not since flagging a patent issued for the filming of a yoga class has the EFF identified one quite this frivolous.

If you want to read the EFF’s legal complaint relative to the shipping patents you can do so here.

And testimonials as to – among other attributes -- the shipping efficiency of Triple7Vaping can be found here.

[MORE: For sale: The nuclear bunker of your dreams.]

“VAPE STRONG,” urges one satisfied customer.

And don’t cave to patent trolls.

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