There's a derogatory term in Silicon Valley for companies that amass huge troves of patents and make money by threatening lawsuits: "patent trolls." When Jeff Kelling's Internet company Fototime was sued - along with more than 130 other companies - for violating someone's patent, he wondered if it was a troll (which the company denies), and then settled out of court.
NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees.
Laura and Alex continue their story about Intellectual Ventures and the practice of patent trolling. They learn why the buying and selling of patents is likely to continue being a huge, controversial business that affects the entire tech industry.
In a small west Texas town called Kermit, two nurses were accused of harassment after they complained to the medical board that a doctor was putting patients in danger. The nurses were fired and then arrested, facing ten years in prison.
In this act: judge wannabes working with the old boys network.
Susan Burton rereads her parents' divorce papers—the fine print that changed her life forever.
Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge AmandaWilliams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Waynecounties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on herparents' checking account when she's 17, one for $40 and one for $60, andends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behindbars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of itin Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation.
We hear about how Brandi Byrd and many other offenders end up in Judge Williams' drug court. One reason drug courts were created was to save money by incarcerating fewer people.