Software Licensing Trolls

Webinar July 29, 2021 2:00-3:00 EST

Are you worried that your company may be targeted by the “second wave” of aggressive software license auditors (such as Micro Focus and/or Quest)? Are you familiar with the peculiar incentives behind these and other newly aggressive software auditors?

Bottom line: you probably should be.

Dean Bolton and I are proud to join forces with our partners Art Beeman and Joel Muchmore at Beeman & Muchmore to present: “Software Licensing Trolls: How They Are Monetizing Licensing Agreements And Putting Your Business At Risk.” We are very excited to once again collaborate with Beeman & Muchmore and we thank the Licensing Executives Society for making this possible.

Program Description:

In the recent past, so-called “Patent Trolls” (a derisive term for certain Non-Practicing Entities or “NPEs”) were perceived as exploiting the patent system by amassing low-value portfolios and indiscriminately filing infringement lawsuits for the sole purpose of extracting “cost of defense” settlements. Eventually, their notoriety caught up with them, and due to legislative action and Supreme Court rulings, the heyday of the Patent Troll is largely receding.

In a new twist on the same theme, some investment companies and established software giants have begun monetizing software licensing agreements in a similarly exploitative fashion. However, due to the peculiarities of the contractual relationship between licensor/licensee, this emerging breed of Licensing Trolls presents an even greater potential risk to the average business. For example, where claims of patent infringement are subject to the protections of the court system, a claim involving breach of a licensing agreement is initiated by a low-cost software audit.

Where the Patent Troll needed to obtain hard-fought injunctions or monetary judgements to carry through on their threats, the License Troll can allege tens of millions of dollars in damages and, absent payment, can unilaterally terminate valuable software rights entirely outside the court system. Finally, License Trolls benefit from the fact that they nearly always operate within the confines of contractually confidential audit proceedings, effectively siloing bewildered licensees and preventing them from having the knowledge/details of the experiences of previous targets. As such, combating licensing trolls requires more than a deep understanding of the law and an expertise in the technology at issue – it requires an experienced guide through this emerging shadow market that cannot be readily understood through normal channels.

1. An update on the current state of the Software Licensing Troll phenomenon;

2. An understanding of the terms and conditions of the software licenses being asserted by Licensing Trolls and how licensees may best protect their interests; and

3. Practical strategies for negotiating with Licensing Trolls and resolving audit disputes before litigation.

Please review the program description and webinar details below, and we hope that you can join us on July 29th!


Joel Muchmore, Founding Partner, Beeman & Muchmore, LLPJoel spent the bulk of his career as an IP litigator and trial attorney in Northern California. Joel has enjoyed a wide variety of representations, serving clients that range from nascent startups to Fortune 100 companies, aspiring artists to internationally renowned rock stars, and brick-and-mortar manufacturers to the most sophisticated technology companies in the world.Along with his partner Arthur S. Beeman, Joel was on the litigation team for Mars Inc. when it sued software giant Oracle Corporation in the course of a license audit—to date the only public filing by a licensee challenging Oracle’s software licensing and auditing practices. Since then, Joel has represented scores of licensees—from small businesses to global enterprises—in their disputes with Oracle and other major software vendors. Joel is a prolific writer and is widely published on legal issues that impact the world of software licensing.In June of 2020, Joel and Art launched the law firm Beeman & Muchmore, LLP in order to efficiently and effectively unbundle their software licensing micro-specialty from BigLaw and provide services directly to their clients. Beeman & Muchmore LLP introduces the concept of GigLaw, a new services delivery model that leverages emerging technologies and targeted specializations in order to relieve businesses from the
unnecessary burdens of BigLaw.

Arthur Beeman, Founding Partner, Beeman & Muchmore, LLPNationally recognized by numerous legal publications for his courtroom achievements, Art has tried more than 30 cases to jury verdict in venues throughout the United States. Art’s practice today involves the representation of licensees in major disputes with enterprise database licensors, including serving as co-lead counsel, with Joel Muchmore, on behalf of Mars, Incorporated against Oracle Corporation in the only publicly filed complaint against the software giant for its audit tactics and conduct.

The “Daily Journal” named Art among California’s “Top Ten Patent Lawyers” in its first-ever listing of the state’s top intellectual property lawyers. Art has been named multiple times by “Managing Intellectual Property” as an “IP Star,” recognizing his work on high-stakes matters throughout the United States. Art won a jury verdict for the inventor in Gaus v. Conair, which was listed by The National Law Journal as one of the top 10 jury verdicts for that year. He also has been named in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, where he was described in that publication’s inaugural edition as an “outstandingly energetic and creative IP lawyer… (who) enjoys a national reputation.” Art has been selected for inclusion in the Northern California Super Lawyer Magazine and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

Dean Bolton, Co-Founder and Chief Architect, LicenseFortress LLCDean Bolton launched his IT career in 2000 after completing his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He started working with Oracle databases early in his career at an internet systems and applications design firm. Since then, he has continued working as an Oracle developer, database administrator, architect, consultant, and evangelist.Today, Dean is the managing partner of VLSS LLC, a premier Oracle and VMware consulting firm. He serves as the lead enterprise architect with a focus on Oracle applications and database solutions. Dean is an Oracle 12c DBA Certified Master, Exadata Specialist, SQL Certified Expert, and VMware vExpert. Dean is recognized Oracle licensing expert with presentations at VMworld, IOUG Collaborate, UKOUG, and OpenWorld.

Dr. Michael Corey, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, LicenseFortress LLC

Michael Corey is a business and technology advisor. Michael is a frequent speaker at technology and business conferences throughout the world, having presented in locales from Australia to Brazil. In 2017, was recognized as #42 of the top 100 most influential people in the cloud industry. Michael is a recognized Oracle ACE, a recognized VMware vExpert, and a recognized Microsoft Data Platform MVP formerly (Microsoft SQL Server MVP).Michael is the original Oracle press author; his newest book is Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing IT Right from VMware Press. Michael is a regular columnist on Clouds Trends for the Big Data Quarterly magazine.

Michael Corey co-founded Database Technologies (DBT), the first East Coast consulting firm to specialize in Oracle and other relational databases, which was sold to Level 3 Communications. Under his direction, the organization experienced triple-digit growth, and was recognized in 1997 by both Deloitte & Touche and Hale and Dorr as the fastest growing technology company in New England and the 51st fastest growing technology company in the United States. Michael’s also founded Ntirety, one of the first Managed Service Companies in the world focused on database services and consulting, which he sold to HOSTING in 2014.

Michael received a gubernatorial appointment to the Massachusetts Robert H. Goddard Council for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

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