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(Wall Street Journal)   There's a new breed of patent troll out there   (online.wsj.com) divider line 201
    More: Interesting, Bayer, Brooks Brothers, Cisco Systems, Procter & Gamble, request for comments, garbage bags, territorial marking, paper cups  
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27383 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Sep 2010 at 11:42 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-09-02 01:14:15 PM
db2: Marking a tube of toothpaste or paper cup with a patent that is out of date or doesn't exist has been against the law for years. It is considered anticompetitive.

Right, and actually holding a patent isn't anticompetitive. Got it.


In the short term patents may seem anticompetitive, but over the longer term they are very pro competitive. The purpose of a patent is to reward invention by awarding to an inventor a fixed monopoly with a defined term, so that the inventor alone (or his licensees) can collect the benefits of his invention. The only way other inventors can collect their own benefits is to either pay a license fee to make and sell the patented widget at a profit, or come up with new (and better) inventions, which they in turn patent and use to make their own products and collect their own license fees.

Because patents are required to be filed with the public, in exchange for your patent you are required to tell other inventors exactly how you are making your widget and how to make an identical widget that functions the way your invention does. If you have a really good idea, it will outlast the patent term, and when your patent expires everyone is entitled to practice your invention for free.

A patent is the polar opposite of a trade secret (e.g., the recipe to Coca Cola). In the case of a trade secret like Coca Cola, you have come up with an invention that others can't figure out how to make themselves through legitimate means (e.g. by buying and reverse engineering your product in their own lab). You get to profit on your invention without protection (except from someone who uses elicit means to steal your idea -- they can go to jail), but if and when someone figures out how to reverse engineer your trade secret, you are SOL because you opted not to share your idea and get a patent on the invention. That's the consequence of keeping inventions secret forever, rather than patenting them and collecting monopoly rents for a limited term.

/the more you know
//cool story bro, I know.
 
2010-09-02 01:15:14 PM
andyofne: Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar

Bullshiat. He was intentionally examining everything he could find so he could discover something he could use in a lawsuit.

who the hell looks at patent marks on bow ties?


Someone who works in the intellectual property field?
 
2010-09-02 01:18:34 PM
radiumsoup: A.) This guy is a douche for trying to game the system for his own personal advantage. Reasoning: He has no actual injury.
B.) Patent law should be adjusted to allow expired patent numbers to remain on products, but not erroneous or false numbers. Reasoning: Patent numbers on products exist for reference so that competitors can go look up the number and see how their product/invention might be infringing on another's patent. If an expired number is listed, the competitor can still look up the patent to do their due diligence and determine any overlap as they normally would, and then see that the patent is expired. In this case, the patent number is not erroneous, just outdated.
C.) This guy is still a douche. Reasoning: I said so.


and a genius.
 
2010-09-02 01:20:17 PM
I don't get why people are so riled up over this.

If you speed in your car in ignorance of the law, you still get a speeding ticket.

If you keep expired patent markings on your product in ignorance of the law, you get your ass fined. This lawyer gets money because he's doing the government's job for them.

You'd think the derp brigades would be saluting this model of small citizen governance.
 
2010-09-02 01:22:41 PM
Theaetetus: Yeah, it is. As I mentioned above, if you're facing life in prison, you may get one or two butterflies in your stomach when you face the jury, and probably won't be at your best.

Possibly, but if you're really the innocent person, I'm not sure why you would be unless they have so much evidence pointing in your direction that it would take a defense attorney to dispel the charges.

Yeah, and they're more likely to get caught because of the lawyers. Defense attorneys aren't really about the defendant - they're about keeping the government honest.

True, but I'm thinking more along the lines of DA's that aren't state or city appointed. I'm thinking a corporate or personal defense attorney.

/Pbbt, keeping the government honest, now you have my leg.
 
2010-09-02 01:23:19 PM
Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies to rise. Thanks, asshole.
 
M-G
2010-09-02 01:24:12 PM
ohm: Example. You manufacture "Super Widget Gun Toy" and have your patent# on it. on 3-10-2010 you run off 50,000 pieces, enough to last you 6 months. Your patent runs out on 3-30-2010, The stock you have isn't infringing on the law. In September, Bawl*Mart places a order and you run off 50,000 more to fill it using the same molds. Here is the problem, you are claiming patent protection on a product you no longer have the rights to. Those 50,000 pieces were created to defraud.

Exactly. And if you're a company that holds patents, you need to make sure you're either putting new tooling in place at that time, or modifying your existing tooling.

If you're a small company, it's easy to miss. But any company with a large number of products and patents should have the systems in place to deal with this. And sorry Ames, but saying 'oh, that was made in China' is a lame excuse. You sourced it there, you put your name on it, it's your responsibility. It's a management failure.
 
2010-09-02 01:25:32 PM
NoOne0785: Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies to rise. Thanks, asshole.

Or companies can actually stop throwing random or expired patent numbers on their products. Just a thought.

Suing a company because they aren't following the law does not a douche one make.
 
2010-09-02 01:26:23 PM
NoOne0785: Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies to rise. Thanks, asshole.

The company was involved in no wrong doing by using expired patents? That was legit? Oh ok, as long as they weren't BREAKING THE FARKING LAW!
 
2010-09-02 01:26:46 PM
Tatsuhiko: Possibly, but if you're really the innocent person, I'm not sure why you would be unless they have so much evidence pointing in your direction that it would take a defense attorney to dispel the charges.

Really? You're actually innocent, but you get arrested and brought in on false charges of murder, and you're going to be completely level-headed?

True, but I'm thinking more along the lines of DA's that aren't state or city appointed. I'm thinking a corporate or personal defense attorney.
/Pbbt, keeping the government honest, now you have my leg.


Wait, you think that government-appointed defenders are going to do a better job keeping the government honest than private ones?

I think you're off the rails on both arguments.
 
2010-09-02 01:26:48 PM
The only obvious court decision should be the one where they mandate that we the public beat this litigious dickbag and his copycats with a sock full of nickels.
 
2010-09-02 01:28:08 PM
Sarien: The only obvious court decision should be the one where they mandate that we the public beat this litigious dickbag and his copycats with a sock full of nickels.

Yes, beat people to death for enforcing laws.
 
2010-09-02 01:28:18 PM
NoOne0785: Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies to rise. Thanks, asshole.

Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies' competitors to drop, due to not having to perform expensive diligence searches on patents that have long since expired. Thanks, dude!
 
2010-09-02 01:29:33 PM
Tatsuhiko: I didn't say that. I'm saying that people should be able to defend themselves in a case.

You're more than welcome to represent yourself. As the saying goes though, he who represents himself has a fool for a client. Very few lawyers are even willing to represent themselves, and some of them actually know what they are doing, unlike Joe Public trying to do it himself.
 
2010-09-02 01:30:19 PM
In other news, the only reason, ever, that someone creates something useful is so they can exploit it for monetary gain.

/The more you know!
 
2010-09-02 01:30:59 PM
Our Man in Nirvana: Wait...

So, if this is deceptive, the purpose of the deception is to prevent people from copying products that are NOT actually patented, right?


Would you have to prove that you were going to copy the product, and that the fake patent number prevented you from doing so?


No, it really is money for old rope. Any patent lawyers involved in this scam, for it is a scam, should be blacklisted.
 
2010-09-02 01:31:19 PM
Theaetetus: NoOne0785: Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies to rise. Thanks, asshole.

Dicks like this will cause the cost of all products produced by defendant companies' competitors to drop, due to not having to perform expensive diligence searches on patents that have long since expired. Thanks, dude!


It's as if many people in this thread know preciously dick about patents and their functions in this thread. It blows the mind how much someone can be outraged about something they know so little about.
 
2010-09-02 01:31:46 PM
This is Obama's...oh, forget it.
 
2010-09-02 01:31:53 PM
Bored Horde:

Yes, beat people to death for enforcing laws.


Now wait a minute mister angry pants. I never said "to death". Just to an unhappy place. So that I dunno, with the rampant bigotry, civil rights infringements, cops covering up murders and all the other important stuff to deal with, that it isn't displaced by the NUMBER ON THE PACKAGING OF SOME BOW TIES.


Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.
 
2010-09-02 01:34:14 PM
Sarien: Bored Horde:

Yes, beat people to death for enforcing laws.

Now wait a minute mister angry pants. I never said "to death". Just to an unhappy place. So that I dunno, with the rampant bigotry, civil rights infringements, cops covering up murders and all the other important stuff to deal with, that it isn't displaced by the NUMBER ON THE PACKAGING OF SOME BOW TIES.


Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.


Ok, lets give the ability to companies to hold on to patents forever and ever. Problem solved right?
 
2010-09-02 01:37:54 PM
FarkedOver:
Ok, lets give the ability to companies to hold on to patents forever and ever. Problem solved right?


Goddamn I bet you're a blast at parties when you pull shiat out of your ass like that. What's next? A volvo?


I never said it, and it doesn't matter anyway. The patent is either on file or it's not, and all that's on the packaging, is a notification to the farking consumer. There's no shady oh my god expired patentssess! It could've all been resolved with a couple phone calls, but hey there's no free money in it for me like that! And that's why the headline says "patent troll" and not "upright consumer hero brigade"
 
2010-09-02 01:38:22 PM
Thenixon: Summercat: Sometimes memos like "In 7 years, make certain to put new patent stuff on new product" get lost in the shuffle.

Makes me wonder why a patent number simply couldn't be reused..

They can be - you just have to keep paying the maintenance fee, not file a new patent claim. These companies are not paying the requisite fees to the Patent Office, but by printing the patent numbers on there, they are (falsely) claiming that the product is protected by the patent they aren't maintaining anymore.

/still seems like it's mostly out of carelessness, but whatever...


No, the patent still runs out, they can only renew for the length of the patent.
 
2010-09-02 01:40:52 PM
Sarien: FarkedOver:
Ok, lets give the ability to companies to hold on to patents forever and ever. Problem solved right?

Goddamn I bet you're a blast at parties when you pull shiat out of your ass like that. What's next? A volvo?


I never said it, and it doesn't matter anyway. The patent is either on file or it's not, and all that's on the packaging, is a notification to the farking consumer. There's no shady oh my god expired patentssess! It could've all been resolved with a couple phone calls, but hey there's no free money in it for me like that! And that's why the headline says "patent troll" and not "upright consumer hero brigade"


Pulling shiat out of his ass, like...patent mark enforcement mysteriously interfering with local criminal law enforcement? Like that?
 
2010-09-02 01:40:54 PM
Burchill: Thenixon: Summercat: Sometimes memos like "In 7 years, make certain to put new patent stuff on new product" get lost in the shuffle.

Makes me wonder why a patent number simply couldn't be reused..

They can be - you just have to keep paying the maintenance fee, not file a new patent claim. These companies are not paying the requisite fees to the Patent Office, but by printing the patent numbers on there, they are (falsely) claiming that the product is protected by the patent they aren't maintaining anymore.

/still seems like it's mostly out of carelessness, but whatever...

No, the patent still runs out, they can only renew for the length of the patent.


Unless you're a pharmaceutical company, in which case you double the dosage, rebrand your pill, apply for a new patent for a new compound and therapeutic use, and when the patent on your Prilosec expires you're ready to come to market with your newly patented drug, Nexium!
 
2010-09-02 01:41:20 PM
FTFA "The law on false patent markings is similar to whistle-blower laws. Anyone can file a claim on behalf of the government, and plaintiffs must split any fine award evenly with it. The Justice Department has argued on the side of plaintiffs in some of the claims. "

For those who DNRTFA, or who didn't make it that far. The claims is filed on behalf of the government, and then any award is split with them.

Seems like the government is using the populace to do its work.
 
2010-09-02 01:42:21 PM
Ya'll are just mad you didn't think of it first.
 
2010-09-02 01:42:22 PM
Sarien: FarkedOver:
Ok, lets give the ability to companies to hold on to patents forever and ever. Problem solved right?

Goddamn I bet you're a blast at parties when you pull shiat out of your ass like that. What's next? A volvo?


I never said it, and it doesn't matter anyway. The patent is either on file or it's not, and all that's on the packaging, is a notification to the farking consumer. There's no shady oh my god expired patentssess! It could've all been resolved with a couple phone calls, but hey there's no free money in it for me like that! And that's why the headline says "patent troll" and not "upright consumer hero brigade"


Why bother putting the expired patent on a product? Obviously they were trying to enforce a patent that was no longer enforceable, which is deceptive and is illegal. Patents expire for a reason. I think you outrage would be better placed with the companies that do this sort of thing.
 
2010-09-02 01:43:02 PM
DoctorCal:
Pulling shiat out of his ass, like...patent mark enforcement mysteriously interfering with local criminal law enforcement? Like that?



Yeah! Kinda exactly just like tha.... hey wait a minute!.. Did you just teach me a lesson? I gotta watch you. You're sneaky.
 
2010-09-02 01:44:47 PM
theoriginalslash: Ya'll are just mad you didn't think of it first.

Actually, I know of a guy in the Chicago area who has some false marking problems. But I don't care enough to pursue it, and he seems like a really tiny operator. But still, you could probably hand him a settlement offer for a few hundred bucks. Anyone in Chicago want some easy money?
 
2010-09-02 01:44:48 PM
TheShavingofOccam123: Well, I guess I have to rethink getting a patent. If a lawyer can sue for expired patents, what about patents whose processes aren't being followed anymore? Or patents for materials that aren't being used in the product anymore? Or patents that have to make a hard left and rescue the 101st Airborne at Bastogne?

101st didn't get rescued.

/Nuts!
 
2010-09-02 01:45:54 PM
Sarien: Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.

So a large company should not be penalized for breaking the law because it's not important in your eyes?

Where is your line for "important" vs. "not-important" when it comes to injuries against the nation and its people?
 
2010-09-02 01:47:34 PM
andyofne: Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar

Bullshiat. He was intentionally examining everything he could find so he could discover something he could use in a lawsuit.

who the hell looks at patent marks on bow ties?


For that matter .....Who the hell looks at bowties?
 
2010-09-02 01:49:22 PM
TopNotched: andyofne: Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar

Bullshiat. He was intentionally examining everything he could find so he could discover something he could use in a lawsuit.

who the hell looks at patent marks on bow ties?

For that matter .....Who the hell looks at bowties?


nuggets of douche
 
2010-09-02 01:50:18 PM
"These cases have forced companies to spend time, money and resources investigating claims where there really isn't any injury to anybody,"

Bullshiat. The law exists for a reason. Patents are a TEMPORARY state protected monopoly on an item. After that monopoly right expires, it is illegal to keep claiming it. Feel free to go for changing the law. Now that patents are online and can be checked for essentially free rather than in the past where it would take some money to figure out if they're lying about having it under patent, it may be appropriate to change the law. But as it stands, this lawsuit is getting private industry to follow the law at negligible cost to taxpayers. This is tort law working as it should, making companies invest resources in FOLLOWING THE LAW.
 
2010-09-02 01:55:28 PM
Sarien: There's no shady oh my god expired patentssess! It could've all been resolved with a couple phone calls,

In the recent past, it would have been at least a few hundred dollars to get the patent pulled for you. (Believe it or not, the world existed before you did - really!) By lying about having designs under patent companies were illegally stifling competition.
 
2010-09-02 02:01:35 PM
Bored Horde: Sarien: Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.

So a large company should not be penalized for breaking the law because it's not important in your eyes?

Where is your line for "important" vs. "not-important" when it comes to injuries against the nation and its people?


Do you actually believe this is why these cases are being brought? To enforce the law?

Most companies will settle, they know this, it's more or less blackmail.

You think the grass rake makers meant to leave the number on? Or is it more likely, as they said, they were just using the same moulds.

P&G will be fine, some companies will likely go out of business for an oversight. All for the enrichment of the already rich. It may be the letter of the law, but it's a long way from the spirit
 
2010-09-02 02:02:04 PM
TopNotched: andyofne: Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar

Bullshiat. He was intentionally examining everything he could find so he could discover something he could use in a lawsuit.

who the hell looks at patent marks on bow ties?

For that matter .....Who the hell looks at bowties?


Bowties are cool. Like Fezzes.
 
2010-09-02 02:02:09 PM
prjindigo: Plaintiffs must prove that a customer has been harmed to individually bring such lawsuits to court. Federal Law.

Plaintiffs are not eligible for rewards which are not posted. Federal Law.

Plaintiffs, if proven to be motivated not by law but by profit, can be held in contempt AND fined the entire court fees. Federal Law.

Plaintiffs cannot file class action lawsuit without proving individual harm. Federal Law.


I'm sure many of us are interested in these statements and would like to check out the statutes. What code sections do each refer to?
 
2010-09-02 02:02:46 PM
andyofne: Stauffer was shopping at a New Jersey mall when he noticed something peculiar

Bullshiat. He was intentionally examining everything he could find so he could discover something he could use in a lawsuit.

who the hell looks at patent marks on bow ties?


he's a patent lawyer. it's second nature. that's like saying grammarians purposefully go out seeking errors rather than just seeing them everywhere they go. i cant choose to see or not see physics flaws in action movies. they just simply are.

/not a physicist
 
2010-09-02 02:04:37 PM
Our Man in Nirvana: ozone: "Every plaintiff in one of these cases is a private attorney general who is doing a service to the U.S. government by helping it enforce the law," Stauffer said Tuesday.

Sounds like he's saying: since the government isn't doing it's job, I'm going to do it for them as long as they don't mind.


Sounds like the Wild West. That explains it, though. Thanks.


Sounds like Arizona. I wonder if the same people that were against Arizona doing the Fed's job are against this as well.
 
2010-09-02 02:04:41 PM
The right way to troll is to not mark any product with a patent #, then wait for competitors to make something similar that infringes. This seems much easier than keeping marketing and manufacturing up to date with what patent numbers are expiring or not maintained.
 
2010-09-02 02:07:09 PM
Burchill: Bored Horde: Sarien: Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.

So a large company should not be penalized for breaking the law because it's not important in your eyes?

Where is your line for "important" vs. "not-important" when it comes to injuries against the nation and its people?

Do you actually believe this is why these cases are being brought? To enforce the law?

Most companies will settle, they know this, it's more or less blackmail.

You think the grass rake makers meant to leave the number on? Or is it more likely, as they said, they were just using the same moulds.

P&G will be fine, some companies will likely go out of business for an oversight. All for the enrichment of the already rich. It may be the letter of the law, but it's a long way from the spirit


The spirit of the law is to promote growth for a large number of companies to expand upon old outdated patents.
 
2010-09-02 02:09:05 PM
FarkedOver: Burchill: Bored Horde: Sarien: Get it now? It's not important. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Instead of being lawsuit worthy, it's a 'phone call to the attorney general who then tells the company and they rectify the problem on any new shipments' problem.

So a large company should not be penalized for breaking the law because it's not important in your eyes?

Where is your line for "important" vs. "not-important" when it comes to injuries against the nation and its people?

Do you actually believe this is why these cases are being brought? To enforce the law?

Most companies will settle, they know this, it's more or less blackmail.

You think the grass rake makers meant to leave the number on? Or is it more likely, as they said, they were just using the same moulds.

P&G will be fine, some companies will likely go out of business for an oversight. All for the enrichment of the already rich. It may be the letter of the law, but it's a long way from the spirit

The spirit of the law is to promote growth for a large number of companies to expand upon old outdated patents.


I hope one of them picks on the wrong firm, if you get my meaning.
 
2010-09-02 02:09:50 PM
I fail to see the problem with this. IF you have a patented product, make sure the patent is current and accurate.

But it's cool to see the Fark armchair lawyers getting outraged over something that does not affect them in any way..
 
2010-09-02 02:11:53 PM
poughdrew: The right way to troll is to not mark any product with a patent #, then wait for competitors to make something similar that infringes. This seems much easier than keeping marketing and manufacturing up to date with what patent numbers are expiring or not maintained.

If you don't mark, you'll have a very difficult time proving willful infringement and getting triple damages. Since damages could be millions of dollars, and tripling those would be very, very valuable, that seems more economically valuable than not remembering to notify manufacturing and marketing when your patents expire. Particularly because you're getting frequent calls from the financial office saying "has patent X expired yet? We want to cancel the maintenance fee budget item. No? How about now? Now? Now?"
 
2010-09-02 02:15:11 PM
enforcement through bounty-hunter may not be ideal, but the accurate labeling of one's products is so basic a responsibility, i'm not very upset. if the public is supposed to respect your patent while it's valid, you can respect the public enough to cease claiming it after it expires.
 
2010-09-02 02:42:45 PM
When you really think about it: Who gives a shiat??
 
2010-09-02 02:45:27 PM
Ok, I'd like to note that this has been a wide-spread no-no in the world of patents. This isn't a new thing they're getting hit by.

This is the law finally being enforced.

Companies all over the place have used the threat of a patent from fake "patent pending" claims to citing expired patents. Some go so far as to cite an irrelevant patent or not really apply for one and call it pending. Sometimes they're even denied their patent and still put "pending" everywhere. The whole point is to make the consumer feel like this is the only place they can go for the patented product and to make competitors/fabricators give up on producing their own.

It's a type of fraud.
 
2010-09-02 02:51:26 PM
Oh no, they're going to fine billion dollar companies $500 for stupid shiat...I bet it costs more in court costs and beauracracy than the violating company has to actually pay.
 
2010-09-02 02:56:55 PM
KyngNothing: Why does this need tort reform? If you don't like it, don't make it against the law to put an invalid patent number on an item...

Ok, I wont. Err...oh damn
 
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