back to article Sunk by 'patent troll': Iron Speed director asks 'anyone want to buy us?'

Iron Speed, a firm which provided a rapid application development tool for creating .NET apps, is shuttering itself thanks to "litigation with a patent troll", according to a letter sent to customers by co-founder and chairman Alan Fisher. The Iron Speed designer enabled developers to create applications for web, cloud and …

  1. Otto is a bear.

    Sorry

    Someone has patented the ability to generate a default application from a database schema? An there was me thinking that, that has been around sine the late 80s in one form or another.

    Wasn't that the whole point of 4GLs like Gupta, Powerbuilder and Delphi.

    1. Electron Shepherd

      Re: Sorry

      It may well be that the actual infringement claim has no merit, but it will cost a pile of cash to actually prove that in court, and Iron Speed don't have that sort of money.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Sorry

      been around sine the late 80s in one form or another

      The '60s vintage RPG/AUTOC auto report compiler begs to differ....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry

      I certainly remember doing similar thing back in the 80s on Cobol under MVS, I think it was called Telon...

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        @AC re Cobol under MS Re: Sorry

        Sorry no... that doesn't count... schema? right...

        But back to the issue. Not enough information to figure out what the litigation is about.

    4. GeezaGaz

      Re: Sorry

      Actually it pre-dates that, CASE tools first surfaced in the 70s and work with things like COBOL/CICS.

      I remember TI (they of dodgy chips fame) had some bloated behomoth of a CASE tool known as IEF.

      And actually Gupta and PB had their own DB engine while Delphi used a connector to any data source you could need. None of them actually generated code or even mappings for data bindings. They just speeded up development.

      O and sorry to be picky but Delphi is 3GL not a 4GL :)

  2. Anonymous Blowhard

    Name That Troll!

    Grab your pitchforks and burning torches, deploy "Angry Mob"...

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    How about making patent trolls lose *all* their patents worldwide (put them in public domain?) if they make groundless accusations and/or lose a patent battle. This should stop these scuzzballs ruining the planet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better still it the USPO should front the bill for all litigation and should hand over the winnings to the victor and remove it from the loser.

      Also if the patent is found to be bogus then the Patent office should foot half the reward to the wounded party.

      That should sort them out...

      1. Roo
        Windows

        I like that idea, best post by Anonymous Coward for ages. :)

      2. SecretSonOfHG

        best idea about patents seen in ages. Seconded

      3. Electron Shepherd
        Stop

        It's not just the trolls you need to sort out

        if the patent is found to be bogus then the Patent office should foot half the reward to the wounded party.

        if the patent is found to be bogus then the Patent office should have to explain why they granted it in the first place...

      4. dlc.usa
        Go

        "Also if the patent is found to be bogus then the Patent office should foot half the reward to the wounded party."

        This assumes the responsible people in the Patent office really care about the taxpayers' money; i.e., this is not good enough, but it's moving in the right direction.

      5. jonathanb Silver badge

        In many of these cases, the defendant isn't actually in breach of the patent in question, so in those cases, it isn't the Patent Office's fault. See for example the BT Hyperlinks case.

        1. Rob Gr

          Wow, I hadn't come across that case.

          The mind boggles. Interesting is that the patent was rejected for 12 years, but after perseverance they eventually got to waste their money.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I've been saying for years

      If you want to get rid of patent trolls, tie the damages they can claim to the amount of product sales they generate. After all, only those actually selling product are "damaged" by infringement.

      Patent trolls sell nothing, they just sit on their patents and wait for a juicy target. Since they sell nothing, the damages awarded will be a multiple of . . zero.

      Poof ! Instant disappearance of the issue.

  4. Huw D

    This is all a bit of an embuggerance...

    ... as I had just finished a trial of ISD late August and was looking to purchase.

    I'm guessing the troll is going to go after the likes of XLineSoft as well?

  5. Rol Silver badge

    Americentric

    If, as looks to be the case, that most patent trolls are accommodated under a bridge somewhere in North America, wouldn't it be logical to sell your product to the rest of the world and exclude North America?

    In practise the American market would still be able to buy the product, by telling porkies about whether they come from the land of the free for all or not, or get it through a third party that by some quirk of international trade, deftly manages to make no money.

    The trolls would find most other countries patent offices staffed with higher life forms than amoeba, and thus, not being able to bring a case against a product that doesn't trade in the jurisdiction of the patent, will have nowhere to go except the ditch where they will be found face down and unresponsive.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Americentric

      as looks to be the case, that most patent trolls are accommodated under a bridge somewhere in North America,

      Once we find that bridge, I suggest an airstrike with tactical nukes. It's only way to be sure. However, there's a certain place in Texas, but it would require multiple strategic nukes to get them all.

      1. Busby

        Re: Americentric

        Not certain if an airstrike is good enough, it usually has to be a nuke from orbit to be sure.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Americentric

        Marshall, Texas. Population 23,523. Everything is within about 3km of the centre.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Anyone been through the filings in East Texas?

    After all, the troll must have filed suit somewhere.

    That way we should be able to find out the names of the trolls.

    1. Frank Marsh

      Re: Anyone been through the filings in East Texas?

      Advanced Dynamic Interfaces LLC is the troll. Amazingly, they filed in Delaware, not E. Texas.

      Thankfully they also sued Salesforce.com and Oracle, so hopefully there will be some well-funded hellfire and brimstone.

  7. Frank Marsh
    Unhappy

    More info

    I looked up the patent at issue here. It is: https://www.google.com/patents/US7062502

    It's not pretty, but at 108 pages, it's not the cursory marketing shite many trolls are advancing. And the patent actually started its life at what appears to be a real (though probably now defunct) company: http://www.appquest.com/

    Unfortunately, (i) the claims are incredibly broad, covering the general idea of database->software generation. All too commonly permitted by the USPTO. And (ii) a troll is suing developers of the general idea rather than developing the more specific ideas from the patent. How does that encourage innovation?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: More info

      Got there ahead of me, however there appears to be a reasonable summary of the key invention buried in this patent here:

      https://codeontime.com/blog/2015/09/ironspeed-to-discontinue-operations

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More info

      "the claims are incredibly broad" Aye, there's the rub. We were sued by an NPE, as they call trolls now. Despite boatloads of prior art thrown at them, they persisited. We settled because we couldn't afford to litigate. Fortunately for us, rhe troll also sued some very big blokes, who took it to trial, won on non-infringement, and freed us from the licence. But the patents are still valid and the troll is still suing.

  8. tfoale

    Patent infringers are not all trolls

    Big companies knowingly infringe patents awarded to small companies too - see Dyson v Hoover 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/954623.stm. Limiting damages to the revenue damage caused to the small business would encourage big companies to infringe patents. The process of proper patent examination is a lot less expensive than litigation - it should be made possible for a patent examiner with some legal training to adjudicate on the validity of a patent troll's patent and dismiss it before it ever gets to court.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sell the company

    to a shell company in somewhere like uzbekistan, then keep selling again if the trolls catch up, show them what it's like bleeding cash dealing with lawyers.

  10. letooth

    The troll is Advanced Dynamic Interfaces LLC.

    As usual filed in Delaware.

    They have also gone after Microsoft and Oracle among a total of 26 others. Interestingly most cases are now closed.

    US patent law really is a complete ass!

  11. TheShadow2015
    Linux

    They should open source the tool

    Ironspeed should release the source code immediately. Once the open source community has it - it will live on but no patent troll will be able to go after it - there won't be "anyone" to go after!

    Also, how does this crappy patent not apply to ORM tools like Entity Framework or Hibernate? You can point them at databases and create Object Relation Mappings - which is exactly what Ironspeed did under the hood?

  12. KANNEN

    IronSpeed

    It is very unfortunate. If possible keep a payment gateway to receive fees in case if anybody is interested in the product, even if they use a cracked version of it. Hope they understand, if they want to paint, they need a wall also along with the paint and a brush.

    Are you not considering to relocate your business outlet to another country where you are free to develop and continue to support the needy. (idea: Mr. Arnold)

    Good luck.

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