Claiming just about anybody who wirelessly accessed the Internet violated its patents, Innovatio IP Ventures LLC at one point attempted to collect more than $4 billion in damages and license fees in its Federal case filed in Chicago. The case got national media attention and struck a nerve because, allegedly, the plaintiffs could potentially sue anyone who accessed the Internet on their cellphones. Cisco had to spend $13 million in legal fees to fight the settlement back to $2.7 million.

Comment: Patent trolls are a blight on innovation and the economy, including Chicago’s burgeoning tech sector. The patent system now borders on farcical.