The US patent system is a morass of ill-begotten gains and poor oversight. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), however, has offered up a slight ray of hope, swatting down N-Data's attempts to milk excessive amounts of cash from its IP:
In an unusually broad exercise of power by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), patent enforcement company Negotiated Data Solutions (N-Data) has been ordered to stop allegedly anticompetitive enforcement of its patents covering the communications technology....
"We [the FTC] recognize that some may criticize the Commission for broadly (but appropriately) applying our unfairness authority to stop the conduct alleged in this Complaint. But the cost of ignoring this particularly pernicious problem is too high. Using our statutory authority to its fullest extent is not only consistent with the Commission's obligations, but also essential to preserving a free and dynamic marketplace."
Sanity has come home to the United States, if only briefly.