How scanner scammers charge small businesses a fortune for the right to email PDFs


Patent trolls that make money by aggressively filing intellectual property lawsuits are nothing new, but Ars Technica has chronicled a particularly ugly iteration: companies that try to shake down small businesses for using basic technologies like scanners. Project Paperless and a number of shell companies affiliated with it have claimed that they're owed thousands of dollars from end users who "hook up a scanner and email a PDF document," attempting to spook them into settlements.

While Project Paperless has backed down from pitched legal battles, it's difficult to fight trolls who go after a large number of users rather than the companies who make the allegedly infringing devices — a move that's quite deliberate. "If they extract a small amount from each possible end user," says one litigator, "the total amount might well end up being a much larger sum than they could ever get from the manufacturers."

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.