Attorney General Jon Bruning has testified before a Senate committee in Washington about the dangers of so-called patent trolls, even as he continues his fight against a Texas law firm he accuses of attempting to extort money from Nebraska businesses.
Bruning testified Thursday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance (Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation) in Washington, D.C. on the issue of patent trolls. Bruning called for a partnership between state and federal authorities to stem the tide of patent trolling nationwide.
Bruning has been in an on-going dispute with Texas law firm Farney Daniels, who he accuses of representing patent trolls filing suspect claims against Nebraska businesses.
Bryan Farney of Farney Daniels released a statement to Nebraska Radio Network via email after Bruning’s office filed a cease and desist order against the firm, which stated in part, “While the Nebraska Attorney General may have concerns about the U.S. patent system and how it works, or with particular types of patent owners, we are confident that any fair investigation will conclude our firm has lawfully and honorably represented our clients in upholding their rights.”
Bruning dismisses the claim.
“It’s a typical fraudster and a scam artist. He’s trying to divert attention,” Bruning tells Nebraska Radio Network. “This has nothing to do with the patent system. He’s simply cloaking his fraud and the fraud of his clients, although I think he’s a large part of it, he’s cloaking that fraud in the patent system.”
Bruning rejects Bryan Farney’s contention the firm is simply representing clients with legitimate patent infringement cases.
“No. They’re breaking Nebraska law, in terms of our consumer protection law,” Bruning insists. “They may be breaking Nebraska criminal law and certainly it’s immoral on a number of levels, because they’re just extorting money from people. It’s a perversion to the system.”
Bruning says he will press the case against Bryan Farney, though he lost a round in federal court.
A federal judge ruled Bruning violated the constitutional rights of Activision TV when he issued a cease-and-desist order to prevent Farney Daniels from representing the company in intellectual property cases.
United States District Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled Farney Daniels can represent Activision TV of Florida in the patent infringement case it filed against Pinnacle Bank of Lincoln as well as in other patent license cases.
Bruning says the judge was mistaken about the intent of his office in the case. He has appealed the ruling.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]