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CAPTCHA Patent-Holders Are Making Demands

September 15, 2021


A commonly-used security system that requires Internet users to prove they are not robots, “CAPTCHA” (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), has recently become the subject of expensive demand letters.

As reported by Electronic Frontier Foundation, Defenders of the American Dream LLC (“DAD”) is seeking large payouts from websites who use free image-based reCAPTCHA technology, claiming that the system infringes DAD’s patented technology.

The demand letter fees start at $8,500, if DAD’s licensing terms are accepted immediately. From there, pricing jumps to over $70,000 if the responding company refuses to pay, or if DAD is forced to either bring or defend an action in court.

There are debates as to the merits of DAD's patent. Some are arguing that the technology described and claimed in the patent reflects relatively minor modifications to previous image CAPTCHA technology. Among other changes, instead of asking users to select “all images” that are relevant, DAD’s test asks that “one image” be selected. Of course, DAD disputes these arguments


Authors: Em Windrim and Sam Galway


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