An indie filmmaker is accusing a Silicon Valley writer of stealing elements of a film he created about patent trolls that were subsequently used in the latest episode of the show.
A Texas tech start-up breaks every crowdfunding record in the books, but they lose it all when a patent troll shuts them down. Refusing to go down without a fight, our heroes use a legal loophole to beat the trolls at their own game. By obtaining a patent for BEING a patent troll, they’re able to… troll the trolls.
The latest episode in season four of HBO’s Silicon Valley carries the simple title of “The Patent Troll”. As you might assume given the title, the episode deals with a patent troll who uses a broad definition to assert that he owns the patent for Pied Piper’s technology.
Lybrand claims that the episode borrows heavily from his film. “I knew they were doing something with patent trolls. I didn’t know how specifically related to my film it was until I watched it on Monday night,” Lybrand told The Verge.
The filmaker goes on to assert that the Silicon Valley writer went so far as to steal a line from his movie. Zach Woods, who plays the role of Jared Dunn (or is it Donald?) at one point in the episode says “You trolled the trolls” a line Lybrand says he used numerous times in his script.
Now, The Verge reports that the line above is “effectively” the tagline of Lybrand’s film but according to the poster on IMDb the tagline is “If you can’t beat ’em… Troll ’em”, which is not exactly the same as “you trolled the trolls”.
Even if the film used the line multiple times in the script, claiming ownership of a phrase that everybody and their dog has uttered over the years seems like a stretch.
But Lybrand has something of a silver bullet in his arsenal. According to him, the Silicon Valley writer, Andrew Law, is “good friends with an ex of one of the actresses” from his film asserting that Law knew about the film.
The film director also tweeted out a comparison between his film and the Silicon Valley episode.
The filmmaker is considering his next steps including potential legal action against HBO and while that seems like a battle he’s bound to lose, Lybrand has the support of Cesari & Reed, LLP, an Austin, Texas IP law firm that helped fund his movie.
We want to hear your thoughts about this story. Do you think Law stole pieces of The Trolls’ script or is this just a filmmaker trying to drum up some PR about his film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.