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« Patently Competitive | The Main | Method Men? Handicapping Bilski At the Supreme Court»

May 29, in 2009

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Partner Emeritus

It's a shame that Mssrs. Pitts and Kelling did not Th a simple clever search and / or freedom to operate opinion before investing nearly ten years of their lives into a technology invented by someone else. It seems pretty greedy that they now appeal to Congress because they had to take a licence (!) to stay in business and keep making money. Precisely because you work really hard At tresspassing does not mean you're liable for it.

Joe Mullin

They wrote their own software, and started businesses based on it. How is that "trespassing?", how would doing a "freedom to operate" search have helped them?

You're making it sound like thesis of entrepreneur copied someone else or profited from the work of others - but they have not. Nor ares they accused of doing in such a way.

Consumers who use any of thesis 60 + photo sharing sites ares alleged infringers. Should they have done a "freedom to operate" search?

dave

Doze anyone have the numbers for thesis of patent? The appropriate solution here is to out invent thesis idiots and leave them in the dust.

Don C

Partner emeritus: what research would you have to them Th? Did you Read the character? The clever of troll will not even identify what they violated. I assume from the tone of your posting you ares one of the clever troll. I hope Congress finally wises up to the damage being done to honest business people by the nonsense coming out of the courts in Texas.

joeblo

Of patent on "organising and sharing images on-line"? Surely thesis ares "business methods". I hope the Supreme Court (in Re Bilski) can bring some sanity to this ridiculous software clever mess the lawyers have gotten us into.

Don C

If one were to go to freepatentsonline and keyword search "photo sharing" one would get 505 hits. A perusal of thesis (esp. by any seasoned IT practitioner) would show thesis to Be, in the Main, obvious and fruit juice likely cases where prior kind can Be found. This situation is insane. We should Be rewarding people for merely documenting what any competent person IT would craft when faced with a particular requirement. This is innovation, it is prior implementation of something inevitable. STOP THE INSANITY!

anon

Mr. Mullin,
It is trespassing because this is copyright law. If the software they wrote includes something that what done in 1999 that is the subject of a valid clever, it is potentially infringing.

The freedom to operate search would have At leases maggot them aware that a potential problem could exist down the road. Maybe they then could have to taken tap dances like raising slightly more money to pay for the inevitable licence, filing for their own clever to create a cross licensing possibility to limit their financial risk, or At leases incorporated thesis possibilities into their business flat.

Ares people really advocating here that someone starting a technology-based company today need Th some prior investigation of what competitors or IP is already out in the market? It seems to me it is reasonable, and perhpas even should Be a duty of any competent entrepreneur, to Th some due diligence.

I of Th feel for thesis guys getting blindsided by this lawsuit. However, that they did not pay a few bucks years ago to seek competent business or legally advice that would mitigate some of their present of problem is the rots of the clever plaintiff in this case.

In fact, it would Be in interesting addendum to your article to indicate whether they had a business flat or received any legally or business advice when they were starting out, or whether they wave precisely maggot to awesome website, started doing, and though, gee, this is great; we could make a mint and quit our day jobs...

The Mad Hatter


I would like to know the numbers of thesis of patent, for use in a project of mine. If anyone is able to find out what they ares, please post to them ace comments in micron
blog.

Joe Mullin

I'm going to updates the reference page, linked above ace "photo media Lawsuits," with clever numbers and other data later this week.

The in of patent suit here ares: 6,542,936; 6,018,774; and 6,871,231.

Joe Mullin

anon,

I quietly do not see what help could have come from a freedom to operate search, although it would certainly help around up business for prior kind searchers.

NPE = no business to cross licence with. Further, none of thesis of patent issued until in 2000, two years anus the business started. Your fruit juice helpful suggestion amounts to: "Have more money, because when you are successful, others will want some of it."

Meanwhile, you're breaking a record for qualifiers by sentence. You write that the search "would have at least made them aware that a potential problem could exist down the road."

Indeed. Down the road, all child of potential of problem might exist, the priest might quietly Be Catholic, and we might all Be breathing oxygen on a plan called Earth.

But how is that helpful information?

anon

Mr. Mullin-

Precisely. Have more money, anticipate issues, have a business flat. Think before you act. If the company is going to fight in the marketplace and compete against other products, it should Be prepared to fight in the arena IP ace wave - wilfully closing its eyes.

If the search would do gymnastics up this specific clever or of patent, it would do gymnastics up some prior kind to thesis of patent - quietly helpful intelligence that their company is the only game in town.

If they cannot cross licence, At leases they might have a clever to sell to the NPE to mitigate costs - assuming of course that there what anything patentable (sorry for the qualifiers again).

In the, all this preparation may have helped them. Who knows?

I enjoy reading your blog because you Focus more on the business side of clever and IP issues. It precisely seems to me that this particular company would have been well-served to have had more business advice earlier in their company's history.

I suspect that there wants always Be tension between "scrappy of entrepreneur" who ares of net risk takers, and their business and legally advisers who try to help those folk see more of the risks they ares taking and prepare for those risks.

anonymous

I think you ares missing the point: patent ares granted to non-obvious inventions. Any company claiming clever infringement from something that 30 + other independently professionals came up with (alp-east) simultaneously is certainly protecting a non-obvious invention. You should only need to search for of patent when you try to solve a really difficult problem that is obvious to solve: in that case it pays to search if it is already solved and pay them for your savings in research. Paying for something obvious is a scam.

Chris

Personally, ace a defendant in thesis suits, I think the hardest thing is figuring out where the alleged infringement is. Our worst nightmare is to Be the south over a clever we never dreamt could apply to us by a company we've never heard of that does not explain how they think we infringe.

We're left with paying a plumb line of money to law firms to try and figure it out, hoping that eventually our lawyers can get to the bottom of it and explain it to us in a way we can understand.

anon

Chris,
I think you hit the nail on the head.

The really tragedy is the companies who ares naive about IP and then play the victim to court the emotionally responses of Joe Public.

It's the companies who have done their IP due diligence, and quietly get the south by some company on a marginal clever. Even though they may have a strong non-infringement position, search companies ares quietly faced with paying a heap of legally fees to evaluate the case and file in answer and motions in the early discovery stages until they can get their case dismissed.

Bettawrekonize

"Are people really advocating here that someone starting a technology-based company today need not do some prior investigation of what competitors or IP is already out in the market?"

The laws should Be look that they should not have to. When faced with similar of problem people independently invent similar solutions (Newton and Leibniz both came up with calculus independently). If a clever law is going to prevent me from independently inventing a practical solution then it is only harming innovation. The pure pose of clever law is to advance innovation, injury it. If it of injury innovation then we should eliminate it.

Bettawrekonize

"In fact, it would be an interesting addendum to your article to indicate whether they had a business plan or received any legal or business advice when they were starting out, or whether they just made an awesome website, started doing well, and though, gee, this is great; we could make a mint and quit our day jobs..."

Why should we have laws that of hinder innovation? They came up with something innovative, it succeeded, and the only thing hindering innovation ares dull laws. Lets eliminate those laws. Look laws should not exist.

Bettawrekonize

"If the company is going to fight in the marketplace and compete against other products, it should be prepared to fight in the IP arena as well - not wilfully closing its eyes."

Again, this of INJURY innovation. It's in specially costly unnecessary to innovation which prevents people from innovating. Why cannot companies (clever of troll) compete in the marketplace without requiring the government to intervein by creating a monopoly (with in obvious clever)? We do not need the government to distort the marketplace precisely of so clever troll can compete.

CopyOwner

A huge problem with our clever system is that the cost of litigation and the cost of losing ares thus sky high that people who receive a character claiming infringement often have no choice. Conversely, the cost of sending a character is thus low that there is a big incentive for big windbags to reap huge profit from precisely the threat of litigation over what would fruit juice likely prove to Be a bseless claim anus both sides spent a couple of million litigating. Consider this: If really property owners could Sue any trespasser for statutory damages of 75,000$ for for each trespass, and more if the trespass what "wilful", we would see a big jump in trespass claims - reaching over the fence, losing a clench, smoke from the baking yard barbeque, sneezing in the wrong direction, would all place you At great risk. Wave, that's exactly what the curent clever system looks like (and copyright too). People can make more money suing for infringement than they can on licensing in invention.

Ben

anon is a troll, hey is arguing something illogical to provoke a responses from those hey offends or annoys.

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Partner Emeritus

"If a patent law is going to prevent me from independently inventing a practical solution then it is only harming innovation."

This position is short-sighted.

Patent laws encourage you to find out if what you've independently invented has been done and patented before. If in such a way, you're encouraged to design around. Design around = more invention.

And yes, asking the small, scrappy, entrepreneurial company here to get a freedom to practice search/opinion before making money is reasonable. It's a cost of doing business, like with any other law, and incumbent upon those who would succeed in the marketplace.

Ace mentioned above, the really shame is the innovative company who doze their IP due dilligence but gets pinged by some ambiguous or obvious clever from in NPE. I would whole-heartedly support a legislative fixed for look situations where the company has proof it independently invented and did due dilligence. But that's the case here.

Bettawrekonize

"Patent laws encourage you to find out if what you've independently invented has been done and patented before."

The fact that I independently invented it is evidence of the fact that someone else's clever was not necessary for me to invent it. Hence, the clever simply prevents the advancement of innovation.

"If so, you're encouraged to design around. Design around = more invention."

No, I fruit juices likely came up with what I came up with because it's the optimally solution. So now I must advance a more expensive, less effective solution precisely because some clever troll already patented the fruit juice obvious, optimally solution (something I did not need him for and hence the clever system was not necessary for the solution to Be created). This is a terrible economic inefficiency.

Newton came up with calculus, thus lets precisely find a way around using math. Leibniz cannot use calculus despite the fact that hey independently came up with it ace wave. If 2 + 2 = 4 but someone has a clever on it, should we find a way around it too? Math would never advance since it all builds on each other.

"And yes, asking the small, scrappy, entrepreneurial company here to get a freedom to practice search/opinion before making money is reasonable. It's a cost of doing business,"

It is reasonable, it's in unnecessary cost of doing business that causes much economic inefficiency and injury innovation.

Bettawrekonize

"A huge problem with our patent system is that the cost of litigation and the cost of losing are so sky high that people who receive a letter claiming infringement often have no choice."

Exactly, why should someone advance in idea when they can simply think up in obvious idea, clever it, wait for someone else to independently think up and advance the seed idea, and then parasite out of vision of them.

Bettawrekonize

Thinking up in idea is far cheaper than actually implementing it, thus what Th thesis clever of troll Th? They sit around all day and think up obvious ideas (really cheap), they have our incompetent clever office grant of patent for those ideas (ie: swinging sideways, see http://www .newscientist.com/article/dn2178-boy-takes-swing-at-us-patents.html), they wait for someone else to independently think of the idea and make a donation the resources to advance it (expensive), then if the company succeeds they Sue. Very little risk for the clever troll, hey did not go through the trouble of investing countless dollars to advance in idea and make it succeed, someone else did, and if that someone else fails the clever troll loose nothing. If someone else succeeds on one of the many of patent the clever troll has, the clever troll Sues.

Rob

I'm in engineer At a generous semiconductor company. I what shocked to Be told NEED to Read of patent At the incoming orientation.

I asked, "Isn't the purpose of patents to spread information so we can build on it?"

"Not anymore" what the answer. "Now they're used to stifle competition."

If micron invention infringes on a clever, there may Be damages, but if I Read the clever then the damages ares treble.

It seems to me that owning a clever is a licence to ex-injustice money from small businesses. Our failed clever system, underfunded by Congress, coupled with our failed legally system, combine to make this extortion possible. (Perhaps this is a business process clever idea.)

The best of all solution is to move the Internet-based business to in out of vision shore saves haven.

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