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Patent-infringement lawsuit against Fark settled for zero dollars. Also, patent trolls suck hairy donkey balls 
Posted by Drew at 2011-08-10 10:59:00 AM (361 comments) | Permalink

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17946 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Aug 2011 at 11:00 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



A lot of you were already aware that Fark was sued by a patent troll back in January. I wanted to share that as of today, after eight months of legal work, that lawsuit was dismissed.

Here's the tl;dr version:

Their patent had nothing to do with Fark. The patent troll realized we were going to fight them instead of settle, so they asked for our best offer. I said how about you get nothing and drop the lawsuit? They accepted.

/tl;dr

Normally, we wouldn't be able to talk about any of the details. Terms of patent lawsuit settlements are usually bound by ironclad nondisclosure agreements. NDAs allow patent trolls to extract maximum settlements from each entity they've filed lawsuits against - as a result no one knows who paid what. In the last round of settlement negotiations we asked to strike the NDA provision. They agreed (and to the attorneys out there reading this, I'm as baffled as you are).

Striking the NDA was crucial because I wanted to be able to tell everyone what really happened: we didn't pay them a single dime.

The patent covered a method for inputting news releases into a web form, which would then compile the news release and email it to media outlets. Now, aside from the fact that a ton of prior art exists and that the patent should never have been awarded in the first place, Fark and all the other websites named in the lawsuit don't produce "news releases". In the world of journalism, the term "news release" is equivalent to "press release" - the patent itself equates the two in the opening description. Could a judge have ruled otherwise? Sure. They've been known to rule that the sky is green - which is why this lawsuit was dangerous.

As much as I'd like to fight the good fight, we reluctantly decided against pursuing a counterclaim against the patent holder. Too expensive--as in a couple million dollars too expensive, years of legal wrangling, and no guarantee of recovering all of the spent money by the time it was over. I sincerely hope someone still in the case with deeper pockets pursues these guys. I'm happy to help in any way I can. Unfortunately, Yahoo settled a while back, and Conde Nast settled out for Reddit this week. AOL is still in it though, I believe they're inclined to hang in - especially given what happened with Fark settling for nothing.

At any rate, this bullshiat is finally over. It was a nightmare. Imagine someone breaking into your home, then being forced to sit on the couch while their lawyers file motions over how much stuff they can take. My wife Heather said my first draft of this post sounded too angry, probably due to the fact that every third word was an f-bomb (among other things I paraphrased our best one-time settlement offer as "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself", which may be a more accurate depiction of how I really felt at the time). I won't lie though, I was angry and I am still. Too much money was wasted on this, too many sleepless nights, too many hours away from running Fark, and all this because someone else decided that suing companies for bearing a vague resemblance to their patent (patents they don't even appear to use themselves) is a good business model. We're short a full-time employee thanks to these douchebags.

I'm just glad it's over. Huge thanks to Legal Team Fark at Roetzel & Andress, who were able to quickly grasp the reasons why this patent lawsuit was bullshiat and hone those arguments into legal nightmares for the plaintiff. I can't recommend them highly enough to anyone going through a similar situation. After all, when's the last time you saw a patent lawsuit settled for zero dollars? Pretty rare.

All right that's it, let's get back to funny news. C'mon Florida, don't fail me now.
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361 Comments   (+0 »)
   

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2011-08-10 11:02:06 AM  
I guess this means that you can now go after trolls, terrible headlines, and repeats. Victory for all!
 
2011-08-10 11:02:52 AM  
So a site that rewards and encourages trolling had to fight trolls? Awesome.
 
2011-08-10 11:03:33 AM  
It's rare to hear good news such as this when it comes to patent trolls. Congratulations!
 
2011-08-10 11:03:53 AM  
great, no more boobie threads.
 
2011-08-10 11:03:55 AM  
Yay Drew! Great news.
 
2011-08-10 11:04:08 AM  
Wow. That's awesome. Congratulations, and thanks for fighting!
 
2011-08-10 11:04:33 AM  
If you'd stop infringing, you wouldn't have these problems.
 
2011-08-10 11:04:44 AM  
HOORAY!!! Now I can keep submitting to you jerks instead of a holding company!!!!


/seriously though, awesome news.
 
2011-08-10 11:04:50 AM  
Sweet!
 
2011-08-10 11:05:05 AM  
I would wear a shirt that said "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself".

An uncensored version.

Congrats Drew.
 
2011-08-10 11:05:06 AM  
That's good news.
Patent trolls just hit Minecraft as well, saying Mojang can't use the name "scrolls" for their next game because people would confuse it with Oblivion:The Elder Scrolls.
Hopefully he doesn't fall for their bullshiat.

//let's kill all the lawyers
 
2011-08-10 11:06:03 AM  
Drew the next time someone wants to sue me I will use this line,also congrats.


I paraphrased our best one-time settlement offer as "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself",
 
2011-08-10 11:06:27 AM  
It's not often enough that you hear a story like this one...good job Fark! I'm glad you had the squirrel cajones to see it through and not give in to douchebags.
 
2011-08-10 11:06:35 AM  

Orgasmatron138: So a site that rewards and encourages trolling had to fight trolls? Awesome.



Yeah, but who's the more trollish? The troll, or the troll who trolls him?
 
2011-08-10 11:06:46 AM  
Well done!
 
2011-08-10 11:06:52 AM  
In true Fark spirit, send them a printout of boxxy saying "you's trollin."
 
2011-08-10 11:06:53 AM  

ArtosRC: I guess this means that you can now go after trolls, terrible headlines, and repeats. Victory for all!


One can only hope.
Congrats Drew!
 
2011-08-10 11:07:07 AM  
I submitted this with a better headline.
 
2011-08-10 11:07:08 AM  
Awesome. I'm glad that's over with.
 
2011-08-10 11:07:36 AM  
Suck it, patent trolls. Suck it long and hard.

The good guys won.
 
2011-08-10 11:07:46 AM  

cretinbob: That's good news.
Patent trolls just hit Minecraft as well, saying Mojang can't use the name "scrolls" for their next game because people would confuse it with Oblivion:The Elder Scrolls.
Hopefully he doesn't fall for their bullshiat.

//let's kill all the lawyers


That's not a patent troll, that's a trademark troll


Anywho, good to hear Drew!
 
2011-08-10 11:07:46 AM  
You should call Fox News and tell them about this.
 
2011-08-10 11:07:54 AM  
I can hear how much anger this produced. But I think sending a small gift might help make amends in order to bring closure to this conflict. I suggest a hot cocoa sampler box.
 
2011-08-10 11:08:08 AM  
Wouldn't have expected it to end any other way... well, going after the farkwads would have been icing but VERY nice Drew. I truely believe that the existance of the trolls on FARK helped you realize they exist inthe business world and pointing out their bullshiat (flynavy style) is the best way.
 
2011-08-10 11:08:37 AM  
A sad day for troll kind ... ah but we can always make more trollbots
 
2011-08-10 11:08:41 AM  
TLDNR
 
2011-08-10 11:08:49 AM  
Congrats.

Patent trolls are scum.
 
2011-08-10 11:08:53 AM  
Congrats on keeping a civil tone when discussing this case. I'm not sure I could have.

Also, props on the home invasion analogy - best one I've ever heard for legal assaults.

"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns" Mario Puzo (from "The Godfather")
 
2011-08-10 11:08:54 AM  
Offer: Excrement to be provided by a third party (referred to hereafter as JACK) and plaintiff is granted permission to perform an act of self-coitus.

/Gongrats
 
2011-08-10 11:09:30 AM  
I just applied for a copyright on this picture I took a while back of a squirrel with a huge nut sack
 
2011-08-10 11:09:46 AM  
F'yeah! Glad to hear everything ended (as well as it could); Looking forward to a few more decades of funny news and taking out trolls...
 
2011-08-10 11:09:52 AM  
Excellent. Way to fight the b/turds.
 
2011-08-10 11:10:15 AM  
Fb-'s paternity suits, however, still working their way through the system.
 
2011-08-10 11:10:21 AM  
As a patent attorney, patent trolls irk me.
 
2011-08-10 11:10:29 AM  
rockstararmy.com
 
2011-08-10 11:10:58 AM  
Were the legal fees paid in TotalFark subscriptions, BIE, or beer?
 
2011-08-10 11:11:30 AM  
You won, that means you can cock punch them. Right?
 
2011-08-10 11:11:34 AM  
I just signed up for TF to support Drew.
 
2011-08-10 11:11:46 AM  
We live in a world designed by lawyers to benefit lawyers.

Congrats for not giving in and winning.
 
2011-08-10 11:12:18 AM  

IXI Jim IXI: Fb-'s paternity suits, however, still working their way through the system.


Old school represent!
 
2011-08-10 11:12:40 AM  
Dear Fark, would you be interested in patent 6,368,227?
 
2011-08-10 11:12:55 AM  
Way to take on Apple Co. Drew!
 
2011-08-10 11:12:58 AM  

nutkick_42: Offer: Excrement to be provided by a third party (referred to hereafter as JACK) and plaintiff is granted permission to perform an act of self-coitus.

/Gongrats


Win.

Also, good for Fark. Seriously.
 
2011-08-10 11:13:10 AM  
good work drew, now you wont have to blow your lawyer to afford him.
 
2011-08-10 11:13:14 AM  
Awesome Drew!
 
2011-08-10 11:13:22 AM  
Yay!
 
2011-08-10 11:13:36 AM  
therapyfree.files.wordpress.com

Congratulations.
 
2011-08-10 11:13:52 AM  

Bartleby the Scrivener: I can hear how much anger this produced. But I think sending a small gift might help make amends in order to bring closure to this conflict. I suggest a hot cocoa sampler box.


lol

& congrats!
 
2011-08-10 11:14:00 AM  

Andrew Wiggin: great, no more boobie threads.


Are you kidding? We should celebrate with a boobie thread! Shoot, *this* should be a boobie thread!

/can't post pics from my phone
 
2011-08-10 11:14:41 AM  
So, what you're actually saying Drew, with extended pinky to the corner of your mouth, is that actually, crime does pay.

*runs*
 
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