back to article Go Zuck Yourself: Facebook destroys patent suit over timeline

Facebook has prevailed in a suit over its iconic news feed and claims it ripped off the idea from a patent troll. Judge John Koetl granted Summary Judgement [PDF] to House Zuck, approving its motion to dismiss an allegation that the Facebook timeline violated Mirror Worlds' purchased patents on the organization of messages and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If a patent troll brought a suit claiming ownership of the eternal, exothermic torture of departed souls who had unrepentantly sinned in life, I would certainly file an amicus brief for the side of the devil.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      So you don't want to play devil's advocate?

  2. IceC0ld

    Go get Zucked

    so they win this one, and I think we all agree that THIS time FB were in the right, but this doesn't mean that the underlying principles they were founded on are still anything other than, we are free, so we need to grind every last nickel out of joe blow public we can ........................

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Go get Zucked

      None of these patents should ever have been granted.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: None of these patents should ever have been granted

        I think there's a simple thing that could be done to do away with patent trolls : tie the awarded amount to the revenue generated by the troll with the patent.

        In other words, if you have a patent and you're not selling product based on that patent, you can win in court and your award will be zero.

        You want to claim infringement on your patent ? Why does it matter if you're not doing anything with it other than going to court ? Get your fat ass on the market and start bringing product to being, then you can claim infringement.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

          Re: None of these patents should ever have been granted

          That might not work at all. A research lab or university might hold patents that they license out to others, rather than selling them to manufacturers. These institutes would be penalised under your proposal, whereas they are not acting like your regular patent troll. Indeed, it is not the place of universities or research institutes to compete in the market, but they can earn extra income from licensing. Money earned this way can be put back into research and innovation. The main problem seems to be the broken patent system in the US, as patent trolls seem to be a rare species elsewhere.

          1. Killfalcon

            Re: None of these patents should ever have been granted

            The entire point of the patent system is that People Wot Have Ideas can effectively market them to People Wot Can Do Things.

            Sometimes, the people who have the ideas can also do the things, at which point patents allow other people to also do the thing in return for a kick-back to the idea-haver, but there's no reason to say that your classic guy-in-a-shed needs to start his own aerospace company if he thinks up a better way to pump fuel into a jet engine (made up example).

          2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            @ Michael H.F. Wilkinson

            In which case your labs & unis can demonstrate that their patent is being used to develop product.

            I'm just trying to find a rule to kill trolls, so adapt it, don't shoot me down.

        2. dajames

          Re: None of these patents should ever have been granted

          I think there's a simple thing that could be done to do away with patent trolls : tie the awarded amount to the revenue generated by the troll with the patent.

          Well ... no.

          I might have an idea, and patent it. I might then spend a lot of time and money working out how to get my idea to market -- developing the tech that's based on that idea, looking for backers to help put it in production, and so on. I might easily have to do that for a few years before I could bring a product to market and start to make money.

          Now, imagine that in that period someone else with more money and more experience than I has the same idea and rushes it to market. What can I do but sue him?

          At this point I'll have spent all my savings and a few years of my life pushing forward an idea that might one day have made me rich beyond the dreams of avarice, but to date has given me debts and an ulcer. You think it's fair that the only recompense I'd be entitled to in law would be bigger debts and another ulcer?

          If you want to assess the value of the invention why not see how much the other guy has managed to make from it, since he's the one who's actually selling it.

          Or turn the whole thing around, maybe. Give Zuckerberg the debts and the ulcer. He might find them ... broadening.

          [I agree that patent trolls are pond-slime, I just want to point out that not everyone who holds a patent but isn't actively marketing a product based on that patent is a troll.]

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Evil corporation vs patent troll. Oh dear.

    "Whoever wins...we lose" and all that.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Barring appeal, the decision means the case is finished.

    And there will be an appeal since it's what patent troll attorneys do. Has there ever been a patent troll who didn't keep appealing until they either win or get a settlement?

    1. Notas Badoff

      Win, settle... or sublimate

      "until they either win or get a settlement?"\

      Or the speculative funding gets cut and they go bankrupt. And eventually they evaporate into nothingness.

      1. hplasm

        Re: Win, settle... or sublimate

        "And eventually they evaporate into nothingness."

        And yet, somewhere, an SCO atom is still fighting on...

  5. FozzyBear

    Regardless of the decision. I think we can all agree that we were all torn by indecision as to who we wanted to win in this case.

    Out of curiosity is there any scenario in which a patent suit can be lost by both parties. where zuck and the patent attorney are both summarily executed for gross stupidity and crimes against humanity

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Curiosity

      There is one such scenarrio: When Kim Jung-Un becomes dictator of the USA. I'd say that looks rather unlikely at the moment, but taking the present president into account, it might be an improvement.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Curiosity

        Be careful what you wish for, chairman Trump is currently moving his pieces into position by making the free press the enemy and sowing division amongst the people. These are tactics used throughout history to install a dictatorship.

    2. Killfalcon

      It's entirely possible for legal action to cost both parties more money than it's worth, but, well, that money has to go somewhere! Shiny new Jaguars for the legal teams, usually.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Out of curiosity is there any scenario in which a patent suit can be lost by both parties."

      When an apparently safe patent is properly examined under the spotlight of the court and lawyers and it's ruled invalid? Nah, this is the US we're talking about!

  6. Elmer Phud

    IP squatters / Patent trolls

    Can wear top hats while pogoging unnder the belies of Anacondas.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    When does the hunting season

    Start for patent trolls?

    That would solve the problem

    1. Huw D

      Re: When does the hunting season

      Hopefully it's immediately after the hunting season for the US PTO, who are responsible for half the nonsense patents in the first place.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: When does the hunting season

        The US PTO is just doing the job that Congress gave it. The hunting season you are looking for is "congress-critters with room temperature IQs".

  8. 2Nick3

    Facebook claims it ripped off the idea???

    "Facebook has prevailed in a suit over its iconic news feed and claims it ripped off the idea from a patent troll."

    Change "and" to "that" so the sentence has the intended meaning, but I got a big laugh out of how it is written!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Facebook claims it ripped off the idea???

      The suit is over claims that it ripped off the idea from a patent troll. I can see what you mean, but the article isn't actually wrong.

  9. Rol Silver badge


    Don't trade directly with America.

    Sell all your goods and services outside of America and let independent agents, without your support or consent import those items into the USA.

    Without a presence, the patent trolls can't touch you.

  10. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    There has to be a way to fix this stupid bulshit around patents but retain the original purpose for patents.

    I think we can universally agree that the companies that amass patents with the sole intention of taking legal action on those infringing on them are scum and are as bad as ambulance chasing lawyers.

    Yes, its only fair that the likes of universities and other research groups to patent inventions and licence them to people making products. So, lets say, if a company acquires a patent by other means than applying for it themselves after their own R&D, then they can get the fuck out of it if they file a patent infringement, unless they are actually using the patent. And while we are at it, they must file an infringement claim as soon as they become aware. How many times have we seen a product that the patent holder waits until a product has become a massive success, then claim infringement demanding a large bite of the cake, knowing that if they had licenced 3 years before then the payout would be less...

    there has to be a solution to the whole mess that is patents. inventors and researchers need to protect their work, but as it is, progress is being held back while the lawyers get rich...

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