Top Rackspace lawyer: "We’d love to get rid of software patents"
“Once you reach a certain size, you become more of a target,” Alan Schoenbaum told us in a recent interview. Schoenbaum is the general counsel of Rackspace, which achieved $1 billion in revenue for the first time last year. He said that patent litigation against the San Antonio company has “accelerated over the last two years.”
In addition to facing its own lawsuits, Rackspace is increasingly seeing its clients sued as well. Last month, for example, a patent troll sued the source control company Github. The troll also named Rackspace in its lawsuit, apparently believing that merely hosting Github’s servers is sufficient to make Rackspace liable for Github’s alleged infringement. “No company is safe from patent trolls,” Schoenbaum told us.
Such attacks have driven Rackspace to become an active participant in the patent reform debate. “We really just got our policy stuff going recently,” he said. While the company hasn’t yet hired a full-time policy staff, policy issues consume a growing share of Rackspace lawyers’ time. And the firm has begun to retain lobbying firms to help it advocate patent reform in Washington.