You Patented What? A Troll on Your Job Site2020-04-23T00:25:19+00:00
You Patented What? A Troll on Your Job Site

Since Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, people have been lashing wood together for shelter. As any watcher of numerous survivor shows will tell you, a shelter is only as good as its ability to keep out the water. And, when a shelter gets wet, it needs to be dried out or mold will grow. For contractors in the Pacific Northwest, this is nothing new.

Enter the father and son team of Andrew R. and Robert A. Weisenberger. In October 2013, the U.S. Patent Office granted the Weisenbergers Patent No. 8,567,688 entitledMoisture Reduction and Mold and Moisture Preventative System and Method in Construction.” The Weisenbergers’ patented the process of drying out a home that appears as obvious as boiling a pot of water to cook pasta. The Weisenbergers’ patent consists of the following steps:

  1. Measure the moisture content in a “plurality” of locations in the room that is wet;
  2. Determine whether the moisture content is too high;
  3. Run a “drying device” such as “a dehumidifier, a space heater, and an air moving device”; and
  4. “Seal off the area being treated with a vapor barrier.”

Since then, a company called Savannah IP, Inc. has been serving contractors in the Pacific Northwest with patent infringement notices and demanding these contractors pay a licensing fee for drying out homes using their now patented 4-step process.  Savannah IP, Inc. does not appear to actually supply any service using this patent. Consequently, Savannah IP, Inc. could be considered a textbook Patent Troll.

The Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, has taken notice. In fact, Oregon recently passed a patent reform law, SB 1540. Effective June 2014, a person who receives a demand to pay a licensing fee based on a bad faith assertion of patent infringement may have a claim under Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act. And, under Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act, any person who has suffered any ascertainable loss as a result of an act deemed an unlawful trade practice may recover actual damages, or $200 in statutory damages, whichever is greater, plus attorneys’ fees.

Contractors who have received demand letters for licensing fees for supposedly infringing on a patent should consult with experienced counsel. While your first reaction may be “You Patented What?,” your next step should be to determine whether you have a troll on your job site.


Ball Janik LLP was founded in 1982 with six lawyers and a four-person support staff in Portland, Oregon. Since our firm’s inception, we have expanded our capabilities, our professionals, and geographic footprint. What started as a firm focused in real property and land use (known then as Ball Janik & Novack), has grown to include the insights of a team of 30-plus attorneys, with a combined six centuries of experience, and capabilities including Real Estate and Land Use, Construction Defect, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Recovery, Construction and Design, Employment, Finance and Corporate, Public Agencies and Schools, and Community Associations. With offices in Florida and Oregon, our regional growth has earned us a national reputation for upholding the rights of our clients.

Ball Janik LLP has been recognized by Chambers USA, U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, The Best Lawyers in America©, and Corporate International. Ball Janik LLP’s success and integrity have repeatedly made it one of “Oregon’s Most Admired Professional Firms,” according to the Portland Business Journal’s survey results of CEOs throughout the region.

Heather J. Oden
Oregon , Portland
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