Some years ago, a lawfirm an the Atlanta area started sending out letters to local businesses, saying that these businesses owed the lawfirm $10,000 for each employee that used a scanner to scan documents into an email.
If the businesses did not comply and give the lawfirm $1,000 for each employee that used a scanner to scan to an email, then the lawfirm would sue that business.
The lawfirm that did this was Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton LLP, of Atltanta, Georgia.
One of the companies that Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton LLP threatened to sue was Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services, a company that helped disabled children.
(to Make the lawsuit threat stop, Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services had to promise the lawyers to never again scan a document into email)
Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton claimed to be representing a shell-company called "Project Paperless".
Project Paperless was formed with financial links to 3 different shell companies:
Bonita Sunrise LLC.
PCB Intellectual Properties LLC,
Renaissance Group IP Holdings,
So who was behind these three shell companies?
Bonita Sunrise was formed with a manager of: Steven Hill.
PCB Intellectual Properties was formed with managers of: Steven Hill, Douglas Kertscher, and Scott Wharton,
Renaissance Group IP Holdings was created by: Scott Wharton as member, manager, and organizer.
...the very lawyers of the lawfirm Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton LLP.
So, Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton LLP claimed to represent Project Paperless, which in fact was in partnership with shell-companies managed by:
Steven Hill, Douglas Kertscher, and Scott Wharton…. the very lawyers themselves that were filing the lawsuits.
Lawsuits against small businesses whose "crime" was using scanners to scan documents into emails.
Below, an email from Steve Hill, claiming that a business that helps disabled children was breaking the law by using a scanner at work.
Ms Whitehead, the owner of CobbPediatric, was literally forced to stop scanning documents into email at work to avoid being sued.
So Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton has literally stopped a pediatric therapy office from being able to do their jobs efficiently, because they are pretending to own the idea of using a scanner, and threatening to sue the people that do.
Obviously, Steve Hill had NOTHING to do with the creation of the scanner... NOTHING at all.
The Shell-Game: These are the Shell companies and their founders.
Below, we see the damages that Steve Hill claims his shell company is owed: The people he sued for using scanners should pay him damages, interest, costs, royalties, attorneys fees... and also never be allowed to scan a document into email again.
On behalf of Project Paperless, I sent a letter to Ms. Whitehead at Cobb Pediatric pointing out that Cobb Pediatric was engaged in patent infringement of at least one of Project Paperless's patents. The letter did not threaten litigation. It was only after Ms. Whitehead failed to respond to the first letter that any litigation was ultimately threatened. (I might add that however admirable the mission of Cobb Pediatric, it is not above the law and it is not entitled to trespass on the rights of others, or disregard their letters when they seek to bring these illegal actions to light.) Our firm takes threats of litigation very seriously, just as we take it very seriously when others engage in illegal actions which violate the rights of our clients. At the time, our understanding was that Cobb Pediatric had 170 employees, and that approximately 10 percent of these employees were infringing our clients patent rights on a daily basis.
Ultimately, Ms. Whitehead reached out to me and only then did she explain the nature of her business. Project Paperless confirmed to Ms. Whitehead in May of 2012 that she need not be concerned about any litigation. I might add that Cobb Pediatric confirmed to Project Paperless that it brought itself into compliance with the law and discontinued the practice of infringing the Project Paperless patents.
Below, we see the first and last page of a typical patent lawsuit filed by Steve Hill and his company. Note that his shell company claims to OWN the 'valuable patent rights' of using a scanner... so he is suing people for scanning documents into their email.
Below, a typical letter sent out by Steve Hill of Hill, Kertscher, and Wharton LLP. Steve sent out many of these letters, to many people.