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(Ars Technica)   Patent troll who sends out letters claiming any office that can scan a file into an e-mail attachment owes him $1,000 per employee, has reached a deal with the NY AG to pay back all NY businesses, but allows him to keep sending the letters   (arstechnica.com) divider line 37
    More: Asinine, NYAG, New York, port scanner, unfair business practices, Eric Schneiderman  
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2626 clicks; posted to Geek » on 14 Jan 2014 at 5:52 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



37 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-01-14 05:03:22 PM  
If only I'd patented methods of patent trolling, I'd be RICH!
 
2014-01-14 06:09:31 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: If only I'd patented methods of patent trolling, I'd be RICH!


Just because someone is already doing it, doesn't mean you can't patent it and make money off of them...
 
2014-01-14 06:22:56 PM  

Branniganslaw: Rev. Skarekroe: If only I'd patented methods of patent trolling, I'd be RICH!

Just because someone is already doing it, doesn't mean you can't patent it and make money off of them...


Yeah, it does. See 35 USC 273, which states that someone does not infringe the patent if they were using it at least one year prior to the filing date of the patent or the date of public disclosure.
 
2014-01-14 06:27:54 PM  
I have an implied patent on being a douche to stupid people. everybody owes me money.
 
2014-01-14 06:29:22 PM  

Theaetetus: Yeah, it does. See 35 USC 273, which states that someone does not infringe the patent if they were using it at least one year prior to the filing date of the patent or the date of public disclosure.


That's also the case with the vast majority of patent trolls.
 
2014-01-14 06:30:18 PM  

ToastTheRabbit: I have an implied patent on being a douche to stupid people. everybody owes me money.


I'm sure Justin Beiber has prior art on that one.
 
2014-01-14 06:33:10 PM  
According to the article, the free market already determined the exact value of the patents -- $1 (that's how much the entire patent portfolio sold for to its current sleazy owner).

Anyone silly enough to send them money should therefore make it some fraction of that.  If they've sent out 1,000 letters, for example, and get a 10% return rate, then one penny per respondent should cover things nicely.

That, or a self-flammable bag of poo by mail.
 
2014-01-14 06:37:42 PM  
I'm not usually in favor of capital punishment, but I'd make an exception for patent trolls. And nothing nice like a guillotine, either.
 
2014-01-14 06:38:45 PM  
i1-news.softpedia-static.com

Come at me bro!
 
2014-01-14 06:40:29 PM  
True justice would have involved sodomizing with a fax machine.
 
2014-01-14 06:43:13 PM  

OgreMagi: True justice would have involved sodomizing with a fax machine.


So, a patent roll ?
img.fark.net
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-01-14 07:31:15 PM  
If you have a decent patent lawyer, your group has pending applications that you can update without losing priority date.  You file a patent application for "something round", watch the hamster ball become popular, and claim that's what you meant all along. Yeah, it's technically illegal to steal somebody else's invention or otherwise lie to the PTO. And if the overworked examiner decides to call the overworked US Attorney and try to explain to him that he should stop going after cocaine smugglers and Madoffs and the like, you probably won't suffer any adverse consequences beyond not getting that patent.
 
2014-01-14 07:34:11 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: If only I'd patented methods of patent trolling, I'd be RICH!


IBM already thought of that.
 
2014-01-14 07:45:32 PM  
Oh! Look at the pretty picture that I found:
www.sgammo.com

And they are $1 each as well (including shipping).

/just an observation, nothing more
 
2014-01-14 08:05:22 PM  

DigitalCoffee: Oh! Look at the pretty picture that I found:
[www.sgammo.com image 640x480]

And they are $1 each as well (including shipping).

/just an observation, nothing more


In New York though?
 
2014-01-14 08:42:27 PM  
Good Lord, are there really businesses out there that paid him?
 
2014-01-14 08:46:24 PM  

DigitalCoffee: Oh! Look at the pretty picture that I found:


And they are $1 each as well (including shipping).

/just an observation, nothing more


$1 per round? You overpaid.
 
2014-01-14 08:52:09 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Rev. Skarekroe: If only I'd patented methods of patent trolling, I'd be RICH!

IBM already thought of that.


They also heald the patent to playing with a cat with a laser pointer, but I seem to remember it was revoked.
 
2014-01-14 08:58:31 PM  

jayhawk88: Good Lord, are there really businesses out there that paid him?


Patent trolling like this is plain and simple extortion. And businesses pay out for the same reasons that people usually pay extortion. The patent troll could do more damage to them than the cost of paying. They have to make the choice between possibly bankrupting themselves and losing everything they've worked for trying to fight in courts against someone who has already established that they will not fight fair, or they take a hit and are able to move on.
 
2014-01-14 09:07:13 PM  
The patent is only worth $1? I would have thought the cost to enter in this kind of scam would be higher than that.
 
2014-01-14 09:15:44 PM  
Microsoft has the patent on zeros and ones.
 
2014-01-14 09:17:27 PM  
For the life of me, I don't understand how people like this aren't killed.
 
2014-01-14 11:07:45 PM  

BalugaJoe: Microsoft has the patent on zeros and ones.


No, they patented 2s and 3s because they had to go one better than everyone else.
 
2014-01-14 11:22:36 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: For the life of me, I don't understand how people like this aren't killed.


Hey... I'm working my way to them. Right now I am hunting wabbits.
 
2014-01-15 01:04:10 AM  
OK, one thing I don't understand... Why are the businesses biting? You either by a software package, a hardware setup, or have a printer with this capability. In all of those cases, it's the company that you bought the software from that he would need to contact, not the end user. This would be like Apple suing all the Samsung phone owners rather than Samsung itself in their patent dispute.

Now that I think about it, there are TWO things I don't get. Why is he still allowed to try and extort money from these companies? I don't care that the "language has been changed", he's still trying to con these companies out of money that they would in no way owe him. And the NY AG somehow considers this a 'win'? You guys need a much better Attorney General. It may be the best he could manage, but to call it a win makes the guy look like he has about as much business working with the law as Clark Griswold does piloting 747s.
 
2014-01-15 01:07:14 AM  

Dog Man: DigitalCoffee: Oh! Look at the pretty picture that I found:


And they are $1 each as well (including shipping).

/just an observation, nothing more

$1 per round? You overpaid.


But a box for a buck would be a SMOKING deal...
 
2014-01-15 01:14:23 AM  

jayhawk88: Good Lord, are there really businesses out there that paid him?


The sad part is that whatever system these companies would have been using would have been purchased elsewhere, and the company they purchased their scan to fax system from would be the one responsible.

Personally, I'd have offered to meet the guy for lunch to discuss terms, put a black bag over his head and driven him to Detroit in the dead of winter, dropping him off wearing only his skivvies in the middle of the night with a message on his back stating his net worth for anyone interested enough to make his acquaintance. If he made it back to New York with all of his limbs, all of his digits and even a penny to his name, I'd probably pay him just because he would have actually earned it.
 
2014-01-15 01:20:40 AM  
If I or my company got a letter from them then I'd ignore them until they actually filled something..Then have my attorney send them a letter to go fark them selves.   And no, I would not fight fair either...
 
2014-01-15 02:01:16 AM  
Why would you go after end users on something like this? Wouldn't the responsibility fall on the company that made the software they were using?
 
2014-01-15 02:28:36 AM  

ReapTheChaos: Why would you go after end users on something like this? Wouldn't the responsibility fall on the company that made the software they were using?


From what I've read, that is exactly it.  If I buy a Gadget(tm) from Gizmo, Inc.  I don't owe for patent infringement, Gizmo, Inc. is the one who pays.
 
2014-01-15 04:52:44 AM  
One dollar? Obvious fraud, why doesn't the I.R.S. go after them?
 
2014-01-15 07:20:28 AM  

ReapTheChaos: Why would you go after end users on something like this? Wouldn't the responsibility fall on the company that made the software they were using?


Because that would require actually fighting and having a legit patent.  This is just spamming out faxes and hope some people are stupid/fearful enough to give the money.
 
2014-01-15 07:39:39 AM  

DigitalCoffee: Oh! Look at the pretty picture that I found:
[www.sgammo.com image 640x480]

And they are $1 each as well (including shipping).

/just an observation, nothing more


A buck a box or a buck a round?
 
2014-01-15 08:18:02 AM  

Mikey1969: OK, one thing I don't understand... Why are the businesses biting? You either by a software package, a hardware setup, or have a printer with this capability. In all of those cases, it's the company that you bought the software from that he would need to contact, not the end user. This would be like Apple suing all the Samsung phone owners rather than Samsung itself in their patent dispute.

Now that I think about it, there are TWO things I don't get. Why is he still allowed to try and extort money from these companies? I don't care that the "language has been changed", he's still trying to con these companies out of money that they would in no way owe him. And the NY AG somehow considers this a 'win'? You guys need a much better Attorney General. It may be the best he could manage, but to call it a win makes the guy look like he has about as much business working with the law as Clark Griswold does piloting 747s.


You would think that but you'd be wrong. In the Land of the Free, they can go after the purchaser of said product instead of the manufacturer if they so choose. You'll note that he can still continue to go after customers he just has to tone down the initial threat.
 
2014-01-15 08:38:02 AM  

swaxhog: Mikey1969: OK, one thing I don't understand... Why are the businesses biting? You either by a software package, a hardware setup, or have a printer with this capability. In all of those cases, it's the company that you bought the software from that he would need to contact, not the end user. This would be like Apple suing all the Samsung phone owners rather than Samsung itself in their patent dispute.

Now that I think about it, there are TWO things I don't get. Why is he still allowed to try and extort money from these companies? I don't care that the "language has been changed", he's still trying to con these companies out of money that they would in no way owe him. And the NY AG somehow considers this a 'win'? You guys need a much better Attorney General. It may be the best he could manage, but to call it a win makes the guy look like he has about as much business working with the law as Clark Griswold does piloting 747s.

You would think that but you'd be wrong. In the Land of the Free, they can go after the purchaser of said product instead of the manufacturer if they so choose. You'll note that he can still continue to go after customers he just has to tone down the initial threat.

Yeah, I think their contention is that the patent covers the ACTION of scanning to email.  BY their logic, that means the end user using the feature, not the manufacturer building that feature into the product.  My question is this.  FTFA, the lawyer says that connecting the printer to the Internet, and then scanning directly to email and out, violates the patent.  So the patent covers doing all of this in one step.  If I scan to a folder, attach it to email, and then email it out, IMO that doesn't violate the patent.  I would just make that change and tell him to go fark themselves.

 
2014-01-15 08:40:47 AM  

Mikey1969: OK, one thing I don't understand... Why are the businesses biting? You either by a software package, a hardware setup, or have a printer with this capability. In all of those cases, it's the company that you bought the software from that he would need to contact, not the end user. This would be like Apple suing all the Samsung phone owners rather than Samsung itself in their patent dispute.

ReapTheChaos: Why would you go after end users on something like this? Wouldn't the responsibility fall on the company that made the software they were using?

OgreMagi: If I buy a Gadget(tm) from Gizmo, Inc.  I don't owe for patent infringement, Gizmo, Inc. is the one who pays.


It depends on the claims of the patent. Some patents are targeted at manufacturers, others are targeted at users, simply by virtue of the language involved.
For example, I just did a quick search on Google patents for network printers and came up with no. 8400650. Claim 7 claims:
A network printer to restrict a host from using the network printer, the network printer comprising:
a device communication unit to receive identification information of a host, a print job request signal, and print data from the host;
an image processing unit to process the received print data into a printable signal and determining whether an error exists in a print job during processing of the print data into the printable signal by an emulator;
a storage unit to register the received identification information of the host in a use restriction list;
a control unit to determine whether a reason for the error occurrence is comprised in a list of preset use restriction conditions and if it is determined that a reason for the error occurrence is comprised in the list of preset use restriction conditions, to control the storage unit to automatically store a reason for the error occurrence and the identification information of the host that sends the print job request including the error and to stop the print job, if it is determined that the error exists in the print job; and
a printing engine unit to execute the print job with respect to the print data.


So, here you have a device that the manufacturer builds and sells. They'd be a direct infringer. Someone purchasing it is not liable, due to patent exhaustion, but the patent owner can go after the manufacturer.

But look at claim 1:
1. A network printing method of restricting a host from using a network printer having a printing engine, the method comprising:
if identification information of a host and a print job request signal are received from the host, receiving print data from the host and processing the received print data into a printable signal;
determining whether an error exists in a print job during the processing of the print data into the printable signal by an emulator;
if the error exists in the print job, determining whether a reason for the error occurrence is comprised in a list of preset use restriction conditions; and
if it is determined that the reason for the error occurrence is comprised in the list of preset use restriction conditions, automatically registering the reason for the error occurrence and the identification information of the host that sends the print job request including the error in a use restriction list and stopping the print job; and
if no error exists in the print job, executing the print job with respect to the print data using the printing engine unit.


This is what the printer claimed earlier does, when in operation... but the manufacturer might never operate the printer (maybe they do for testing, but that's not necessarily true, particularly for every single unit). So, for example, if they just build the things, they may not ever operate it to "receive print data from a host and process the received print data into a printable signal" or "execute the print job with respect to the print data".

But the end user does. So the end user performing those steps directly infringes, and the manufacturer only  indirectly infringes. The manufacturer is still liable, but the patent owner can technically go after the end users, too.

That said, you almost never would. The end users don't have much money, and you'll just piss everyone off, particularly if you're a competitor with another product. But there's the rub and why trolls may go after end users - they don't care about bad will in the marketplace.
 
2014-01-15 10:09:27 AM  
There are some cases where vigilantism is just what we need.
 
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