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(Ars Technica)   Patent trolls got crushed fighting tech manufacturers so now they're suing tech end users   (arstechnica.com) divider line 58
    More: Asinine, Project Paperless, non-practicing entity, Santa Clara University, patent lawyers, shell companies, Atlanta area, manufacturers, fighting  
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5918 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Jan 2013 at 8:28 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-02 06:07:30 PM
I invented the cheeseburger. If you've ever eaten one then you owe me and robble robble robble.
 
2013-01-02 06:40:13 PM
But... but... the patent system isn't broken!

IMHO, royalties paid by the manufacturer of the product should cover consumers.  If the consumer is using the product in such a way that falls under a new method, chances are that your method probably falls under obvious method clause exception and should be invalidated.

Being able to import a document into an email from a network shared scanner device sounds incredibly obvious to me.  Peripheral sharing eventually boils down to being very device agnostic, so the idea of having separate patents for sharing a printer, scanner, fax, modem, sound/media recorder, desktop screen, etc... shouldn't exist.  If you can connect it, you can share it.  Same goes for the locality of that data or device.  Both UNIX and Windows have abstraction layers that generally make it so that there is little difference between local and remote sources of data.  Even MS-DOS allowed you to map network SMB shares to a local drive letter.

All these guys did is create a method by linking the trivial actions of several existing technologies together.  And it sounds as if somebody tried to patent something similar before them.  All of them should be tossed out and the persons at the USPTO who approved these should be tarred, feathered and paraded through town.
 
2013-01-02 07:30:07 PM
that's interesting, because i patented the process for threatening end users with overly-broad patent claims. you'll be hearing from my lawyer.
 
2013-01-02 08:33:19 PM
throw them in the garbage. or fwd to your state DA to prosecute for extortion.
 
2013-01-02 08:36:55 PM
Are the companies getting these letters or the author of the article to cheap or lazy to do even a few minutes research into Section 2-312 of the Uniform Commercial Code which covers this. A quick call to the legal department of whomever's equipment they use might well solve their problem.
 
2013-01-02 08:38:39 PM
how can you put and/or in a patent?
 
2013-01-02 08:41:02 PM
I wonder how many companies either paid up or worked out a settlement for a lesser amount because they figured it would be cheaper to do that than to fight them.
 
2013-01-02 08:42:14 PM
I prefer to panic first, and then blindly write checks until the letters stop.

/If they're dumb enough to take a personal check from me, they deserve to deal with the consequences
 
2013-01-02 08:44:26 PM

pacified: how can you put and/or in a patent?


"[a]t least one selected from the group of A,B, C or a combination thereof"?
 
2013-01-02 08:56:15 PM
You know who scans a lot of paper documents?

Law Offices.

Good luck vs. every other lawyer in the world.
 
2013-01-02 08:58:12 PM
The obvious solution is to scan your ass and sent that to them as payment.
 
2013-01-02 09:11:57 PM

FuturePastNow: The obvious solution is to scan your ass and sent that to them as payment.


Alternatively...

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-01-02 09:12:15 PM

FuturePastNow: The obvious solution is to scan your ass and sent that to them as payment.


But first, make sure you make it an attachment PDF that you have sent to yourself THEN forward it to them as payment.
 
2013-01-02 09:14:09 PM
A process for reading (or not reading) a news (or not news) article and then posting informed (or uniformed) comments based on the contents of that article to a web site also containing a link to said article.

Boom! Every Farker owes me $1000.
 
2013-01-02 09:22:02 PM
Why cant' people shoot up places full of people like this?
 
2013-01-02 09:22:15 PM
Frankly, this isn't going to stop until someone makes an example out of a few of the scumbag lawyers involved in these sorts of blatant extortion rackets. It might be difficult to unmask the actual patent owners/masterminds behind the schemes, but the identity of the lawyers involved is hard to hide if they expect to actually sue anyone. If a few of the lowlife scum wind up taking a cement shoe swim, perhaps the moral vacuums behind the whole mess might have a bit of a harder time finding willing minions to carry out their trolling.
 
2013-01-02 09:22:42 PM

thomps: that's interesting, because i patented the process for threatening end users with overly-broad patent claims. you'll be hearing from my lawyer.


I patented a process wherein a threat is issued to those who threaten end users with overly-broad patent claims.
 
2013-01-02 09:28:18 PM

thomps: that's interesting, because i patented the process for threatening end users with overly-broad patent claims. you'll be hearing from my lawyer.


Just realize that I have patented the process of filing a patent for the process for threatening end users with overly broad patent claims. My invoice is in the mail.
 
2013-01-02 09:30:38 PM
Isn't this basically the same thing as a "protection" racket? Why aren't the Feds threatening these punks with RICO prosecution and civil asset forfeiture?
 
2013-01-02 09:35:39 PM
Lol I know guys at bluewave so good for them.
 
2013-01-02 09:38:28 PM

fluffy2097: Why cant' people shoot up places full of people like this?


By the time you receive some notice as such, you're vetted as a rational adult who wouldn't do such things, so to speak. It's why these places are targeting the businesses that they are. Same rational as not going after the really big companies.

IMO, the government should go after places such as this for extortion or whatever mob like behavior charge they can think of.

That's kind of the purpose of government, and it's in their best interest, really. More money they can tax that doesn't get written off as a cost of business.
 
2013-01-02 09:41:37 PM
This is why we need to round up all lawyers and run them through a meat grinder and dump the resulting sludge into the sewer where they farking belong.
 
2013-01-02 09:49:41 PM

AbiNormal: This is why we need to round up all lawyers and run them through a meat grinder and dump the resulting sludge into the sewer where they farking belong.


Then all the sueage would back up!

Ha!

Shutting up now.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-02 09:50:12 PM
Two weeks after he filed the third-party complaint, Project Paperless dropped its lawsuit. No settlement, no deal-they just went away. (As a result, the scanner makers never actually came to court.)

File a motion for sanctions against lawyer and company, make them come to court, and take names during the show cause hearing. If they don't show then you have an annoyed judge who might be willing to rule that whatever it takes to pierce the corporate veil in Delaware (probably a notarized letter from God), you have it. Take the resulting paperwork to Delaware and go digging from there.
 
2013-01-02 09:50:31 PM

AbiNormal: This is why we need to round up all lawyers and run them through a meat grinder and dump the resulting sludge into the sewer where they farking belong.


Why do you hate the environment?  There are safety procedures you must follow when disposing of toxic waste.
 
2013-01-02 09:53:21 PM
There was an awful lot of "your company likely uses" in that letter. Instead of fighting it, I would ask for specifics of how MY company was infringing.
 
2013-01-02 09:55:06 PM

fluffy2097: Why cant' people shoot up places full of people like this?


Pah. Just ignore them. They go away.

Ran a business once, amazing the number of scams and scammers out there that pray on small businesses.

Good example was OHSHA. I loved their threatening letters, and phone calls. "We'll shut you down!". I just laughed and hung up. Idiots.
 
2013-01-02 09:58:07 PM

BummerDuck: fluffy2097: Why cant' people shoot up places full of people like this?

Pah. Just ignore them. They go away.

Ran a business once, amazing the number of scams and scammers out there that pray on small businesses.

Good example was OHSHA. I loved their threatening letters, and phone calls. "We'll shut you down!". I just laughed and hung up. Idiots.


I wouldn't take calls and threatening letters from OHSHA either!

25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-01-02 10:37:36 PM

Benjimin_Dover: There was an awful lot of "your company likely uses" in that letter. Instead of fighting it, I would ask for specifics of how MY company was infringing.


We are Amish furniture makers. PDF files are against scripture.
 
2013-01-02 10:48:31 PM

Benjimin_Dover: There was an awful lot of "your company likely uses" in that letter. Instead of fighting it, I would ask for specifics of how MY company was infringing.


The Monster Cable/Blue Jean cable response letter would make a good template.

/Used to work in the trade and sold Monster cables.
//Overprice shiat. Won some free in a training session with them.
///Gave them away. I refuse to have any Monster Cable in my house in case any friends see them and think I'm a gullible idiot.
 
2013-01-02 10:51:08 PM

Dinjiin: All of them should be tossed out and the persons at the USPTO who approved these should be tarred, feathered and paraded through town.


I worked as a patent searcher all through college for a law firm in DC.  Patent Examiners (the people that grant these) are, in general, the worst employees the government has to offer because of the damage they can do.  They are overworked, underpaid, and poorly managed.  Imagine if the Post Office only had to get your letters within a ten mile radius of your house.  If you can find one at work that isn't drunk/hungover/dying from cirrhosis - they are generally pissed off at the world at large because the USPTO still can't provide them a good system to check every patent ever granted.  They aren't lawyers, so they don't really give a shiat if they grant a bad patent.  They figure the appeals process will take care of it.

A patent examiner has to be a specialist in the field they review patents for, so it's a cushy government job for some people (librarian science majors) who can't find employment elsewhere.  For others, like biologists or computer scientists, it's either a stepping stone to becoming a patent attorney, a temporary job for grad school, or a poorly paying government job with great job security that bad employees seek like the Holy Grail.  I met a few people who took pride in their work, but on the order of 3 out of 100, tops.

I waited four days to talk to a patent examiner once.  I had prior art similar to the invention our client made, including a granted patent this examiner had worked on in the past.  All I needed was his input about other categories the application might be filed under, since patents can have multiple classifications.  After waiting for four days, he told me it didn't matter.  Then he farted, twice, and stared at me until I left the office.  I'm sure I'd be irritated too if college kids doing patent searches kept showing up in my office, but this guy wasn't on vacation and he only made it to the office one day that week.  In 1990.  This was well before the concept of telecommuting existed.

The problem, which has existed since I was doing it in the early 90's, is that there are too many farking patent applications for people to challenge them all.  Once a bad one slips through someone else has to spend a shiatton of money to invalidate it.  Until it's invalidated, whoever owns the patent can send out nonsense like this and cash in unless challenged.

I married an IP attorney, and thank God I did.  If I got a letter like this I'd ignore it first, and if they pressed it I'd fight back with the Fist of My Angry Wife.  At least I get the labor for free, and she's good.  If you read the article, they drop the challenges because they don't want the patent invalidated.  if they press the issue, they'll lose it, and they know that.
 
2013-01-02 11:00:37 PM

thomps: that's interesting, because i patented the process for threatening end users with overly-broad patent claims. you'll be hearing from my lawyer.


I bet you could get away with that.
 
2013-01-02 11:03:37 PM

MuonNeutrino: Frankly, this isn't going to stop until someone makes an example out of a few of the scumbag lawyers involved in these sorts of blatant extortion rackets. It might be difficult to unmask the actual patent owners/masterminds behind the schemes, but the identity of the lawyers involved is hard to hide if they expect to actually sue anyone. If a few of the lowlife scum wind up taking a cement shoe swim, perhaps the moral vacuums behind the whole mess might have a bit of a harder time finding willing minions to carry out their trolling.


We know the main lawfirm behind this. Just need someone to go to their main office and kill every lawyer there.
 
2013-01-02 11:15:23 PM

Satanic_Hamster: MuonNeutrino: Frankly, this isn't going to stop until someone makes an example out of a few of the scumbag lawyers involved in these sorts of blatant extortion rackets. It might be difficult to unmask the actual patent owners/masterminds behind the schemes, but the identity of the lawyers involved is hard to hide if they expect to actually sue anyone. If a few of the lowlife scum wind up taking a cement shoe swim, perhaps the moral vacuums behind the whole mess might have a bit of a harder time finding willing minions to carry out their trolling.

We know the main lawfirm behind this. Just need someone to go to their main office and kill every lawyer there.


"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Kind of like a Sith Obi-wan...
 
2013-01-02 11:25:36 PM
I got one of these from Innovatio IP at my work a few months back. I just about fell over laughing. For one thing, they didn't send it to a mom & pop, but a major 121 carrier.

I scanned it, passed it around for some laughs and passed it off to the paralegal for "filing".

Checking the PACER for the Innovatio IP suits out of Illinois shows defendants being dismissed left and right.
 
2013-01-02 11:36:54 PM

ramblinwreck: Satanic_Hamster: MuonNeutrino: Frankly, this isn't going to stop until someone makes an example out of a few of the scumbag lawyers involved in these sorts of blatant extortion rackets. It might be difficult to unmask the actual patent owners/masterminds behind the schemes, but the identity of the lawyers involved is hard to hide if they expect to actually sue anyone. If a few of the lowlife scum wind up taking a cement shoe swim, perhaps the moral vacuums behind the whole mess might have a bit of a harder time finding willing minions to carry out their trolling.

We know the main lawfirm behind this. Just need someone to go to their main office and kill every lawyer there.

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Kind of like a Sith Obi-wan...


No, pretty sure that if we kill enough lawyers the rest will get the hint and just stop this shiat. Just stop.
 
2013-01-02 11:39:25 PM
Did not read the thread, but holy CRAP is the guy they sued awesome.

Vicinanza noticed a few of his customers who had been threatened had been on the "Atlanta's Best Workplaces" list published annually by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The "best workplaces" list included the number of employees each business had, which would have been useful to Project Paperless lawyers in calculating their demands. These were always on a per-employee basis.
Working backward off the "best workplaces" list, Vicinanza was able to get in touch with several other Project Paperless targets, suggesting that Project Paperless lawyers were indeed targeting companies based on the list.

Reactions to the letters varied. "Without question, some people were livid," said Vicinanza. "Some of the smaller ones were scared out of their wits, in addition to being livid."
Some were ready to fight back, while others had no intention of doing so. One mid-sized Atlanta business in the process of being acquired by a major Silicon Valley tech company paid the Project Paperless demand, no questions asked. Some companies just ignored the letters; others talked to an attorney. It isn't clear the companies that did speak to their lawyers about the situation actually fared better.
"The patent attorneys typically have a whole different set of objectives," said Vicinanza. "Now they're in settlement mode. If the company does end up getting sued and the lawyer said 'ignore them,' a company could find themselves paying treble damages. Even my attorneys told me, settle it, you're crazy to fight."

But that wasn't Vicinanza's style. "I'm an IT guy, so I read the patent-and I was just appalled that this could even be called a patent."

And now I have the "Real American Hero" theme stuck my head.

cdn.arstechnica.net

Here's to you, Mr. Small Business Patent Troll Crimefighter
Mr Small Business Patent Troll Crimefighter!
They told you to roll over; instead, you went straight for their throats
IT Geek Batman!
You seek out the vulnerable small employee businesses they target... and then run kickass.exe
Blue screen of Judicial Death!
Shell company after shell company pops up... and you vow to knock em down like Whack A Mole
Using too many similes and metaphors here!
Well, action fighting IT geek is kind of uncharted literary territory, you know
...
Here's to you Mr Small Business Patent Troll Crimefigher!
 
2013-01-02 11:59:34 PM

Lsherm: I married an IP attorney, and thank God I did. If I got a letter like this I'd ignore it first, and if they pressed it I'd fight back with the Fist of My Angry Wife.


Note to self: Marry an IP lawyer.
 
2013-01-03 12:12:06 AM
This will continue until there is legislation that applies punitive damage to any failed attempt to claim royalties from a patent. If the dichotomy is either (a) this person gives me $900, or (b) I get nothing and move along, then it is always, always, always in their financial interest to patent troll. If, however, the dichotomy becomes either (a) this person gives me $900, or (b) I have to give him $900, then people won't do this unless they will win more than half of their cases.
 
2013-01-03 01:20:19 AM
i.imgur.com
 
Esn
2013-01-03 01:39:45 AM

thomps: that's interesting, because i patented the process for threatening end users with overly-broad patent claims. you'll be hearing from my lawyer.


Too late, someone actually did that already.

Wow, this is EXACTLY like the copyright trolls (like the former ACSLaw) that do the same thing with random internet users. Looks like the extortion business model is really spreading.

Nothing will change until there is a mandatory fee for filing an intellectual property claim. Let's say they're asking for $900 in damages - in that case, they should have no problem paying $180 (just 20% of that, we'll be generous) as collateral until the damages are proven.

Just imagine the ramifications! If they were made to put up or shut up, think that would be the end of a lot of patent trolls, as well as copyright extortionists and automated mass takedowns...
 
2013-01-03 03:49:41 AM

Esn: Nothing will change until there is a mandatory fee for filing an intellectual property claim. Let's say they're asking for $900 in damages - in that case, they should have no problem paying $180 (just 20% of that, we'll be generous) as collateral until the damages are proven.


1 million dollars bond.

If you've got a good case, it will be easy for anyone to get a loan for that.
 
Esn
2013-01-03 04:34:18 AM

fluffy2097: Esn: Nothing will change until there is a mandatory fee for filing an intellectual property claim. Let's say they're asking for $900 in damages - in that case, they should have no problem paying $180 (just 20% of that, we'll be generous) as collateral until the damages are proven.

1 million dollars bond.

If you've got a good case, it will be easy for anyone to get a loan for that.


What? Be real. The business practice is to send these demands to thousands and thousands of little targets. Who's going to get your 1 million exactly?

The idea has to be something that would seem reasonable if the version of reality that these IP trolls put forward was real. You have to be sneaky like that, to make it a choice for them between not opposing it or exposing themselves as liars - the same way that the cigarette companies were forced to make it seem like they were supporting anti-smoking health initiatives.

I would actually guess that even if they were only made to pay 10% of their claimed "damages" in advance for each claim they filed, this whole practice would almost completely cease. Because in the majority of cases there would be no provable economic damages, and that 10% price would be too high. At the very least, it would encourage them to claim more realistic "damages" numbers rather than $250,000 for sharing a song as is currently the case (if we're talking about copyright).
 
2013-01-03 08:54:13 AM
As a patent lawyer I'm getting a k-

Aw hell. I give up.
 
2013-01-03 09:28:02 AM
Lawyers creating new markets.

Why do you hate capitalism?
 
2013-01-03 10:51:29 AM
This is a scam even Eve Online players would find dubious.

/Open this can for free isk!!
 
2013-01-03 10:57:50 AM

fluffy2097: Esn: Nothing will change until there is a mandatory fee for filing an intellectual property claim. Let's say they're asking for $900 in damages - in that case, they should have no problem paying $180 (just 20% of that, we'll be generous) as collateral until the damages are proven.

1 million dollars bond.

If you've got a good case, it will be easy for anyone to get a loan for that.


Or really just a bond for if you get ruled against with prejuidice or whatever you call it when the judge goes "Get the fark out of my courtroom before I order the bailiff to shoot you". If you actually present a fair case but lose, no forfeit. If you present shiat like this scanner company, pay up.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-03 11:17:28 AM
If you actually present a fair case but lose, no forfeit. If you present shiat like this scanner company, pay up.

There are two analagous situations.

In a medical malpractice case you have to have your claim reviewed before suing. If the malpractice tribunal says your case is a loser, you put up $6,000 bond to cover defendant's costs when you lose. (My state's law; varies from place to place.)

In a copyright case, the ordinary rule is loser pays. Righthaven went bankrupt due to fees owed to people it sued. Thanks to the corporate form, the investors only lost their investment. This is one reason IP trolls would rather use undercapitalized shells than show their faces. Costs and sanctions fall on the legal entity, not the human beings responsible.
 
2013-01-03 11:57:03 AM
First of all, how does the person receiving the letter know that the sender actually owns the patent, and isn't just pulling a scam?

Second, what would keep someone from actually doing just that: copy the text of the letter, change the letterhead, and collect payments. As long as you don't actually sue anyone, how would such a scam even be detected?

Not that I would do such a thing, or even suggest such a thing. For that would be wrong. Even if the recipient were, say, the Westboro Baptist Church.

Wrong. More or less...
 
2013-01-03 01:32:16 PM

MuonNeutrino: Frankly, this isn't going to stop until someone makes an example out of a few of the scumbag lawyers involved in these sorts of blatant extortion rackets. It might be difficult to unmask the actual patent owners/masterminds behind the schemes, but the identity of the lawyers involved is hard to hide if they expect to actually sue anyone. If a few of the lowlife scum wind up taking a cement shoe swim, perhaps the moral vacuums behind the whole mess might have a bit of a harder time finding willing minions to carry out their trolling.


Offtopic, but do you play MWO?

-Hammerreborn
 
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