Well, I suspect that he'd best not be going to Washington, he just might loose his head.
(well, gimme a break it IS friday after all and that means Sunday is Coming.)
A US district court has torn the heart out of two patents wielded by Intellectual Ventures against two antivirus makers. In a judgment [PDF] this week, Chief Judge Leonard Stark ruled that Intellectual Ventures' US patents 6,460,050 and 6,073,142 were "ineligible," meaning they are too vague and the technologies they described …
A little company I worked for in Vermont got one of these troll messages because we had a office printer/scanner/etc.
They were really afraid of the legalese attached to the "pay up or be sued" email. I let them know that it wasn't real - altho this is the same troll in this piece - and to just ignore the email.
However, there are some who will bow to the fear of being sued or having their name besmirched (God, how I love that word). And all of these companies expend quite a bit of resources figuring out how to react.
The trolls should be made to pay when they are in the wrong. And pay significantly.
While this seems like a great idea at first, there are problems with making the loser pay like that.
Primarily it discourages people or companies with valid patents from suing unless they think they have a extremely good chance of winning (>90%).
So, I expect the response to this, is that the law should only apply to patent trolls. Now you just have to effectively define what constitutes a patent troll. Non-practicing entities are one of the more popular descriptions, but that would include any inventor who doesn't have the means to produce his invention, but doesn't want to sell it outright to a company. Likewise, non-practicing entity also excludes those large corporations that simply collect tons of patents as a way of beating their competition into submission.
While not as simple a rule, it would work better to allow the judge to assess penalties--perhaps up to your 10x--in the case of bad faith litigation, where the litigant clearly is a troll and is simply trawling for suckers. Some trolls may luck out, but far fewer honest patent holders will get caught up. And in some ways, invalidating the patents does exactly this, if only on a small scale.
"Now you just have to effectively define what constitutes a patent troll. Non-practicing entities are one of the more popular descriptions, but that would include any inventor who doesn't have the means to produce his invention, but doesn't want to sell it outright to a company. Likewise, non-practicing entity also excludes those large corporations that simply collect tons of patents as a way of beating their competition into submission."
If the inventor lacks the means to produce the invention, selling or licensing the patent to someone actually capable of doing it could be demonstrated as designation by contract and subject to a specific exemption. As for the "beating their competition into submission," that could perhaps be construed as a different kind of patent troll unless they actually employ the patents in their business, in which case they're a practicing entity and by the definition not a troll. Quite simply, a "troll" should be defined as one who does not actually produce the patented item or contract it out to a designee. Simple enough and practical enough, isn't it?
"In a Thursday court filing [PDF], Intellectual Ventures agreed to abandon its legal action against Trend, though the two sides were at odds over how their court costs should be split."
Intellectual Vultures should have to pay Trend's legal fees due to the patent being ruled invalid.
IV can then sue the USPTO for reimbursement rubber stamping the crap patent without actually examining it in the first place.
Except as an office of the government, the USPTO is immune to being sued unless it allows it, so IV gets stuck with the bill.
Not that I have a problem with IV having to foot the bill mind you. It's just that while I appreciate the desire to inflict some pain on the idiots at the USPTO, it won't work. I mean, even if they allow themselves to be sued, it's not like the idiot who approved the patent will have to pay from it out of his own pocket. No, it would be the taxpayers paying it via higher taxes.
Looking at the previous Reg article about the $17M Symantec judgment, I couldn't help but guffaw at the almost perfectly appropriate surname of IV's legal spokesperson:
"“We are grateful to the jury for their hard work and for confirming the validity of these patents,” Intellectual Ventures chief litigation counsel Melissa Finocchio said in a canned statement.
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