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(Ars Technica)   Target of patent troll does one better than Drew's $0 settlement, gets $200k back under new fee-shifting rules. Bonus - same troll that sued Fark   (arstechnica.com) divider line 91
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15104 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Jun 2014 at 2:56 PM (15 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-02 01:39:54 PM
I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned
 
2014-06-02 01:50:42 PM
That is good news.  Pity they didn't get them on the RICO extortion rule since while IANAL, this operation sure seems like institution extortion to me.
 
2014-06-02 02:01:11 PM

Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned


Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.
 
2014-06-02 02:08:21 PM

Nogrhi: That is good news.  Pity they didn't get them on the RICO extortion rule since while IANAL, this operation sure seems like institution extortion to me.


Offering to settle a lawsuit isn't extortion, at least under the legal definition, even if we call it that colloquially. The official definition is in 18 USC 1951(b) and is:  The term "extortion" means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

Two terms there need some explanation... The first is "fear", which isn't intended to refer to all fear, but "fear of injury". It appears that way in 1951(a), and seems to have been an unintentional typo in (b).
The second one is "under color of official right", which would seem to apply - patents are rights, and trying to enforce one sounds like it's under color of an official right, no? - but it doesn't actually mean that. From SCOTUS:
"At common law, extortion was an offense committed by a public official who took 'by color of his office' money that was not due to him for the performance of his official duties. . . . Extortion by the public official was the rough equivalent of what we would now describe as 'taking a bribe.'" Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992).

And all of the prosecutions for extortion under that clause have been over bribes and corruption of officials... Basically the "under color of official right" means action by a public official.

So, for better or for worse, RICO doesn't apply to patent trolling.
 
2014-06-02 02:17:10 PM

Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.


The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'
 
2014-06-02 02:22:55 PM

Theaetetus: Nogrhi: That is good news.  Pity they didn't get them on the RICO extortion rule since while IANAL, this operation sure seems like institution extortion to me.

Offering to settle a lawsuit isn't extortion, at least under the legal definition, even if we call it that colloquially. The official definition is in 18 USC 1951(b) and is:  The term "extortion" means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

Two terms there need some explanation... The first is "fear", which isn't intended to refer to all fear, but "fear of injury". It appears that way in 1951(a), and seems to have been an unintentional typo in (b).
The second one is "under color of official right", which would seem to apply - patents are rights, and trying to enforce one sounds like it's under color of an official right, no? - but it doesn't actually mean that. From SCOTUS:
"At common law, extortion was an offense committed by a public official who took 'by color of his office' money that was not due to him for the performance of his official duties. . . . Extortion by the public official was the rough equivalent of what we would now describe as 'taking a bribe.'" Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992).

And all of the prosecutions for extortion under that clause have been over bribes and corruption of officials... Basically the "under color of official right" means action by a public official.

So, for better or for worse, RICO doesn't apply to patent trolling.


That makes perfect sense.  Thank you for the elucidation.
 
2014-06-02 02:29:43 PM

Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'


Ah, you're right... Both Eileen Shapiro. Good catch.
 
2014-06-02 02:34:45 PM

Theaetetus: Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'

Ah, you're right... Both Eileen Shapiro. Good catch.


Yeah plus a nondenial. If you're not making revenue off lawsuits you say no. You don't hang up
 
2014-06-02 02:58:34 PM

Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'

Ah, you're right... Both Eileen Shapiro. Good catch.

Yeah plus a nondenial. If you're not making revenue off lawsuits you say no. You don't hang up


They may be paying her for the transfer of the patents, even if she's not directly benefiting from the resulting financial settlements. In that case she still probably knows what's going on and realized that saying anything about it wouldn't be in her interests. . . . So yeah, I guess I basically agree.
 
2014-06-02 02:59:27 PM
I always secretly hoped fark would be sued into bankruptcy.

We'd get over it.
 
2014-06-02 03:09:07 PM
All rich people get sued.
 
2014-06-02 03:11:07 PM
Theaetetus:Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

I was told that nearly all the patent trolls have offices in Texas so that they can bring their lawsuits there, where they have the best chance of winning.
 
2014-06-02 03:13:05 PM
These trolls must be making a gold mine, two blocks down from my house are two guys who are "lawyers" for a troll in ft lauderdale, they were top of their class and upon graduating were offered 250k a year to help said Troll sue the hell out of everybody.
I only know the first name of the troll "Ken", used to be a real estate broker until he went bust trying to sell million dollar homes on his own for a few thousand in return, started this company up in 2002. He went from a nice 4 bedroom house to some mansion, even has an office in Santa Barbara which is funny because it makes me wonder if its not this guy.

Both lawyers are nice guys, just trying to make some cash right out of school, however they tell me "Ken" is the biggest douchebag you could possibly run into, he doesn't only sue patents but he will sue the hell out of anyone just to make a buck, hell word is he started the company in Santa Barbara because he got his grandmother to loan him $75,000 from equity in her house, then didn't pay her a penny back (forcing her to move to an assist. living facility). That house was free and clear (no mortgage) however after she moved, he secured the deeds and sold it off for an extra $25,000.

Just curious if the name Ken sounds familiar, both lawyers won't tell me who it is (they work in the office where I do my real estate stuff), I figured i'd leave it out there.

Far as I know the guy went from rags to riches on suing everyone, they say for every 1 that tries to fight back, he wins 9 more out of court settlements, even if its for a few thousand or few hundred thousand.
 
2014-06-02 03:19:29 PM

Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned


Your finest hour was fighting those scum.  If the US must use drones on its own people, I hope they do so on patent trolls.
 
2014-06-02 03:19:49 PM

Misconduc: Far as I know the guy went from rags to riches on suing everyone, they say for every 1 that tries to fight back, he wins 9 more out of court settlements, even if its for a few thousand or few hundred thousand.


Sounds like a prime candidate for a cockpunch...
 
2014-06-02 03:20:17 PM
OK. Who is Kevin?
 
2014-06-02 03:21:06 PM

Nemo's Brother: If the US must use drones on its own people, I hope they do so on patent trolls.


Just sayin'
 
2014-06-02 03:21:19 PM

traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?


Have you tried, you know, reading the article?
 
2014-06-02 03:21:39 PM
Eagerly awaiting the "Followup" Tag, Drew. Good luck digging up the dirt on the dirtbags.
 
2014-06-02 03:22:57 PM

Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'

Ah, you're right... Both Eileen Shapiro. Good catch.

Yeah plus a nondenial. If you're not making revenue off lawsuits you say no. You don't hang up


Yeah, did she say in 2011 she was under an NDA when you guys and Reddit, etc were tracking this stuff down?  A hang up this time around screams guilty.
 
2014-06-02 03:23:32 PM
Making the trolls pay is step one. Dis-barring them is step two. Step three involves digging a shallow hole in the desert, two gallons of lye, and about three feet of baling wire.
 
2014-06-02 03:24:02 PM

traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?


Kevin is a guy who likes nachos.
 
2014-06-02 03:24:56 PM

studebaker hoch: All rich people get sued.



Us poor people settle for suede.
 
2014-06-02 03:25:07 PM
So what are the odds that they will actually collect?

I would guess that these patent troll outfits are very low overhead - probably just a post office box or empty leased office space in a jurisdiction of convenience.  And incorporated to protect the stakeholders.  So they get slapped with a $200K judgement against assets that consist of a Mr Coffee and a rubber chicken left over the that gag at the Christmas party.  Declare bankruptcy, start new company, rinse & repeat.

That's where a RICO conviction might have made a difference.
 
2014-06-02 03:25:42 PM

SearchN: traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?

Have you tried, you know, reading the article?


Ah, thanks. I have a habit of skipping names when reading random articles.
 
2014-06-02 03:25:57 PM
Nice.

A porn copyright troll just got owned too.

From the ruling:
"Generally speaking, our federal judicial system and the procedural rules that govern it work well, allowing parties to resolve their disputes with one another fairly and efficiently," the Tuesday ruling begins. "But sometimes individuals seek to manipulate judicial procedures to serve their own improper ends. This case calls upon us to evaluate - and put a stop to - one litigant's attempt to do just that."
 
2014-06-02 03:26:43 PM

FinFangFark: traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?

Kevin is a guy who likes nachos.


I was thinking Bacon.
 
2014-06-02 03:27:43 PM

Confoundit: Nice.

A porn copyright troll just got owned too.

From the ruling:
"Generally speaking, our federal judicial system and the procedural rules that govern it work well, allowing parties to resolve their disputes with one another fairly and efficiently," the Tuesday ruling begins. "But sometimes individuals seek to manipulate judicial procedures to serve their own improper ends. This case calls upon us to evaluate - and put a stop to - one litigant's attempt to do just that."



huh huh.
 
2014-06-02 03:28:29 PM

Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'


*sigh* Such bloody clowns aren't they?
 
2014-06-02 03:29:27 PM
I likenachos
 
2014-06-02 03:31:00 PM
Joel Stein's column in this week's Time Magazine implies that Drew Curtis settled with Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC for $250,000, not $0.

/maybe he was trying to be funny
 
2014-06-02 03:33:56 PM
 
2014-06-02 03:34:44 PM

Sgygus: Joel Stein's column in this week's Time Magazine implies that Drew Curtis settled with Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC for $250,000, not $0.

/maybe he was trying to be funny


That's what I suspect they were asking - I settled for zero. There's a copy of it on Ted.com on my patent troll talk for folks who want to check it out
 
2014-06-02 03:35:23 PM

traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?


Who's traylor?

screencrave.com
 
2014-06-02 03:36:58 PM
So I am a little late to the party.  Can anyone give me a Readers Digest version of Drew/FARK being sued?
 
2014-06-02 03:37:48 PM
cdn.arstechnica.net

Cute, but the wrong interpretation of "troll"
 
2014-06-02 03:38:16 PM

Lamberts Ho Man: I would guess that these patent troll outfits are very low overhead - probably just a post office box or empty leased office space in a jurisdiction of convenience.  And incorporated to protect the stakeholders.  So they get slapped with a $200K judgement against assets that consist of a Mr Coffee and a rubber chicken left over the that gag at the Christmas party.  Declare bankruptcy, start new company, rinse & repeat.


That's when you pierce the corporate veil and go after the principals directly. Judges don't look kindly on sham corporations with no assets.
 
2014-06-02 03:40:24 PM

APO_Buddha: So I am a little late to the party.  Can anyone give me a Readers Digest version of Drew/FARK being sued?


Charging someone $5 to connect to a whiskey-drenched server was patented before Drew could get the paperwork in.
 
2014-06-02 03:44:37 PM

LemSkroob: [cdn.arstechnica.net image 640x417]

Cute, but the wrong interpretation of "troll"


2.bp.blogspot.com
/Have both of them washed, and made ready for my chambers.
 
2014-06-02 03:47:22 PM

traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?


lh5.googleusercontent.com
 
2014-06-02 03:52:36 PM

Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned


So, Fark gets more bourbon and servers?
 
2014-06-02 03:54:21 PM

FinFangFark: traylor: OK. Who is Kevin?

Kevin is a guy who likes nachos.


Likes nachos? WHOAH!!! I KNOW that guy! We had nachos together once .
 
2014-06-02 03:55:38 PM
Would it be wrong to ask FTB to use a portion of the $200k to have the patent trolls tazed in the balls?

This doesn't seem like a particularly unreasonable request.
 
2014-06-02 03:55:51 PM

Theaetetus: Lamberts Ho Man: I would guess that these patent troll outfits are very low overhead - probably just a post office box or empty leased office space in a jurisdiction of convenience.  And incorporated to protect the stakeholders.  So they get slapped with a $200K judgement against assets that consist of a Mr Coffee and a rubber chicken left over the that gag at the Christmas party.  Declare bankruptcy, start new company, rinse & repeat.

That's when you pierce the corporate veil and go after the principals directly. Judges don't look kindly on sham corporations with no assets.


So how much assets should a patent troll company possess?  Even if they are legitimate - and I'm sure there are some - it doesn't seem that they would need to have alot of corporate assets.  Leased office space & equipment, a rolling payroll account, etc.  Why would a small legal practice have $200K in assets available for such a judgement?

Maybe they should have to post a bond representing the plaintiff's expected defense costs before they can bring the suit.  But that surely would squash legitimate suits by small players against large corporations.
 
2014-06-02 03:56:43 PM

LemSkroob: [cdn.arstechnica.net image 640x417]

Cute, but the wrong interpretation of "troll"


They look fun. I'd troll the hell out of them
 
2014-06-02 03:57:15 PM

Rwa2play: Drew: Theaetetus: Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned

Out of curiousity, why do you think it's the same folks? Lumen appears to be in Santa Barbara, and Gooseberry was an office in Plano, Texas.

The patents were granted to the same individuals, which could be coincidence except Kevin got one of them on the phone and asked if they were personally benefiting financially from the lawsuits.  They refused to answer the question yes or no and hung up.  I'm calling that a 'yes'

*sigh* Such bloody clowns aren't they?


encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
bloody clown you say?
 
2014-06-02 04:00:47 PM
Kinda hoping they win the appeal on the RICO charge. Because, fark patent trolls.
 
2014-06-02 04:05:04 PM
As a rule I hate cost shifting onto plaintiffs- there's too much risk that plaintiffs with few resources and a legitimate suit will get steamrolled by defendants who should be sued.  But there's an exception to every rule and patent trolls are a great example of why a different factual scenario can torpedo the usual assumptions.  Bravo to the Judge here for her ruling.
 
2014-06-02 04:12:25 PM

Drew: I should clarify that we're pretty sure this troll is owned by the same folks that owned the troll that sued Fark.  Kevin did some digging around and found some interesting stuff.  This ain't over yet folks, stay tuned


This is great! Keep us updated!
 
2014-06-02 04:13:30 PM

starsrift: Kinda hoping they win the appeal on the RICO charge. Because, fark patent trolls.


Unlikely. They got rightly smacked down for that silly theory for the reasons I said above:
FTB's request to amend is denied. FTB has already amended 
its complaint once in response to the prior motions to dismiss. 
It does not explain how a further amendment would be productive. 
It does not identify what additional facts it would like to add 
or supply a proposed amended pleading. Moreover, the core theory 
of the complaint is deficient from a legal perspective and FTB 
has made no effort to explain how any amendment could cure that 
defect.
 
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