Crowdsourcing platform - Article One Partners (AOP), announced a new initiative to help start-ups defend against patent trolls. The initiative, "Operation Ninja S.T.A.R.," will create a database of world-class evidence and business advice around specific, potentially invalid patents. This resource will be made available to any small company being attacked by a patent troll. By using crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, AOP aims to raise a minimum goal of $17,500 by January 10th to begin this initiative.
To start, the crowdsourcing campaign will investigate the validity of U.S. patent 8,180,858, which involves an "apparatus and method that employs selectable and modifiable animation to collect data related to the choices made by the users of an information network." The patent is owned by Treehouse Avatar Technologies. Beginning in July 2013, Treehouse has sued a number of companies over this patent, including making a large number of patent assertions against small companies in the summer of 2013.