One of the oldest and most profitable patent trolls, Uniloc, has been shot down. Its US Patent No. 5,490,216, which claims to own the concept of "product activation" in software, had all claims ruled invalid by the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board (PTAB).
The process through which PTAB eliminated the patent is called an "inter partes reexam," or IPR. The IPR process, created by the America Invents Act, is an increasingly popular and effective way for defendants to challenge patents outside federal courts.
The PTAB case against Uniloc's patent was filed by Sega of America, Ubisoft, Cambium Learning Group, and Perfect World Entertainment. The board found that every claim in Uniloc's patent was anticipated or rendered obvious by an earlier patent.