The Patent Troll
Silicon Valley | Season 4 | Episode 7

The Patent Troll

TV-MA | 29 MIN

Written by Andrew Law
Directed by Jamie Babbit

Richard heads to his doctor for an STD test after his escapade with Liz, Dan Melcher's fiancé. Shocked that Richard had sex, the doctor informs him that he's shrinking. His "unhealthy lifestyle" has led to a loss of mineral bone density and Richard is an inch shorter than he was the year before.

Pied Piper cracks the Top 500 list in the Hooli App store among utilities (sub group mobile, sub group storage). The success catches the attention of Stuart Burke, who issues a note stating Pied Piper's technology infringes on his patent. Presuming Stuart is a fellow coder, Richard tries to reason with him face-to-face. It turns out Stuart is a "patent troll" who makes his living acquiring patents and suing people for copyright infringement. He used to run in music licensing but decided to branch out into the booming technology market. Stuart demands Richard pay $20,000 to license his patent covering "storage of media files on a network."

After successfully signing Keenan to Bream-Hall, Erlich talks his way into a fulltime VC position at the company. Ed Chen invites his new colleague to join him and "some of the boys" on the floor of Oracle Arena for what Erlich assumes will be a Warriors basketball game. Realizing the VCs play a pickup game on the court each week, Erlich breaks his leg installing a hoop on the Hacker Hostel garage door. He gracefully bows out of playing -- instead manning the scoreboard.

Struggling on the phone to reach various sales reps for software upgrades and office supplies, Jared takes Dinesh's advice and pretends he works for a larger company. He manufactures a fake supervisor to connect reps with. Doing his best Ed Chen impersonation, he takes on the persona of "Ed Chambers" and bros out via phone. Ed Chambers gets immediate results negotiating Cloud Storage rates and seltzers for the house at an "amazeballs" price. Unfortunately, Jared is forced to fire Ed when Jian-Yang chooses to spend some of his newfound wealth on a $14,000 smartfridge. Gilfoyle takes an immediate dislike to the talking fridge. When he discovers the voice-response settings are password protected, he decides to wage war. He's able to successfully use energy from his server, Anton, to hack into the fridge, leaving a personal message: "Suck it, Jin-Yang!"

Seeking legal advice from Ron LaFlamme, Richard learns that Stuart is working his way up the Hooli Top 500 list, making a stronger case for copyright infringement with every settlement he collects. Ron advises paying off Stuart, which would be cheaper than going to court. Unwilling to let Stuart get away with his scheme, Richard tries to form a coalition with other CEOs on Hooli's app list. The plan backfires when the eight CEOs Richard approachs preemptively agree to settle with Stuart and license his patent. So bolstered, Stuart demands a higher fee from Pied Piper -- $300,000.

Richard realizes he can use his original Pied Piper music software to search songs Stuart claimed copyrights on. He then goes to Stuart and convinces him that one of the songs he owns was previously licensed to someone else. Successfully trolling the copyright troll and threatening to air this revelation in court, Richard secures a perpetual royalty free license for Stuart's patent. He nevertheless has to pay Ron LaFlamme $22,000 for the paperwork required to assemble the Hooli coalition.