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Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-luck-with-that dept.

Patents 436

akahige sends this excerpt from an article at TechDirt: "The Patent Examiner blog has the incredible story of Innovatio IP, a patent troll that recently acquired a portfolio of patents that its lawyers (what, you think there are any employees?) appear to believe cover pretty much any Wi-Fi implementation. They've been suing coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels first — including Caribou Coffee, Cosi, Panera Bread Co, certain Marriotts, Best Westerns, Comfort Inns and more. ... The lawyer representing the company, Matthew McAndrews, seems to imply that the company believes the patents cover everyone who has a home Wi-Fi setup, but they don't plan to go after such folks right now, for 'strategic' reasons."

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Nothing from Hams? (5, Insightful)

nhstar (452291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594704)

So, I guess amateur radio operators have been infringing since, what... the early 1900's? Voice is just data, right..?

Re:Nothing from Hams? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594714)

Hey! You! Stop that right now! You leave your logic out of this! This is the patent system we're talking about!

Re:Nothing from Hams? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595048)

Hey! You! Stop that right now! You leave your logic out of this! This is the patent system we're talking about!

Moreover, it's on the Internet. Double patent bonus points!

Re:Nothing from Hams? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594778)

They were talking about packet radio in the 80s, and that was data.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594814)

Not to mention that the ~half of the wifi band is primary ham operating band, wifi is secondary access.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594792)

Why is this modded insightful? It's a big, and implausible, jump from "One specific wireless networking technology is patented" to "Every radio transmission ever has been infringing."

Re:Nothing from Hams? (2)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594860)

no, one ham radio covers digital packet based transmissions, a lot of the stuff in wifi was first used in various ham operations. Plus the part of the 2.45GHz band is a ham radio primary band, that means, if you and a ham operator want to use the same frequency the ham operator has the priority and you have to shift. Not that the ham operator would have any trouble with allowed power usage 10W at the lowest and 1kW at the highest, compared to your wifi cards paltry 250mW for a high powered card. The ham operator could overpower the spectrum, most wouldn't and they shouldn't in terms of etiquette, but legally they could.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594912)

I dunno, if I had a big-ass directional antenna pointed straight at the ham's perhaps omnidirectional receiving antenna, I could easily overpower whatever he/she received from farther away, if said was transmitted omnidirectionally even at 10W vs. mine directionally at 250mW. It'd take a fairly reasonable antenna gain to do: a factor of 80-100 or so. It's EIRP that counts, after all, not absolute power.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595092)

You don't know what your talking about.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595156)

But you have EIRP limits as well -- they are somewhat for high-gain antennas (in fixed point-to-point links), but you still have to reduce input power at some point. (The specific rule is, for every 3dB of antenna gain, you can have 2dB more EIRP, and 1dB less power.)

But yeah, you certainly could make an ass of yourself, depending on what hardware each of you have. It'd be pretty unlikely to happen by chance, though, since the correspondingly narrow beam of a high-gain antenna reduces the chance of accidentally hitting someone else -- which is why they relax the EIRP constraints in the first place.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (2)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595174)

Nobody uses omnidirectional antennas for ham operation in 2.4Ghz. Almost all operation is with satellites or point-to-point, and 10- to 20-element yagi beams are standard equipment. It's because of simple physics and the distance involved, plus there are way more sources of noise on S-band than your little directional router. With the beam pointed straight up, they probably won't even hear your signal, nor you theirs. Funny thing about radio waves, they propagate (or not) the same in both directions. Plus, the actual power limit is 1500W [arrl.org] , provided safety constraints are met, and 50W S-band amplifiers are pretty common--try beating that.

Re:Nothing from Hams? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595178)

The ham radio rules for spread spectrum use limit you to one watt if you aren't using something to automatically limit the power level to the minimum required, or 100 watts if you do.

Outside of spread spectrum, I think the power limit is 1500 watts. Of course, most of the fun stuff on the 2.4 GHz band is spread spectrum.

Of course, high power 2.4 GHz gear tends to be expensive, and most hams who muck with WiFi under the ham rules simply use off the shelf equipment with their limited power -- but they often put highly directional antennas on it. (Which the non hams often do too, but at some point that becomes illegal (when the ERP gets too large.) Not that it's likely that anything will happen to them for doing it.)

Re:Nothing from Hams? (1)

nhstar (452291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595200)

Honestly, I agree with this... I was aiming for the inanity of the situation, and was reaching *shrugs*

Take out a hit? (5, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594708)

At some point its just cheaper to pay someone to take a hit out on a troll like this. Maybe invite him out on your new yacht and have a little accident...

Re:Take out a hit? (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594746)

I wouldn't go that far, but I would encourage manufacturers to go and take a strike at them. If there is a patent problem then it should be the responsibility of the manufacturer to cover the costs of the patent or challenge the patent if perceived as dubious.

Re:Take out a hit? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594856)

If they just get driven out of the patent troll business, they'll just switch to defrauding the elderly or phishing scams.

Re:Take out a hit? (4, Funny)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594974)

Have them go out on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

Re:Take out a hit? (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595170)

for a while now, that I've been seeing that due to the highly boken patent system the only to fight these assholes is doing it using their own weapons. I've been doing my part.

Re:Take out a hit? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595116)

Take out a hit?

Well, if the president does it, it won't be illegal... by default.

Re:Take out a hit? (3, Informative)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595182)

From the article:

Return Fire

Innovatio’s first infringement suit, filed March 8 against Caribou Coffee Co., Cosí, and other small business chains, triggered retaliation from wireless communications giants Motorola Solutions, Inc. and Cisco Systems.

In May, Motorola and Cisco fired back with a complaint asking for declaratory judgment, calling for the Delaware federal court to rule that their products don’t infringe, and declare Innovatio’s patents invalid.

“Innovatio is in the business of enforcing and licensing patents,” Motorola and Cisco allege in their complaint. “Innovatio does not sell or offer for sale any products.”

Re:Take out a hit? (2)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594760)

I really hope the Mob get some of these lawsuits - but any organised crime group will do. Or a biker gang. Maybe take away WiFi from a prison and put the word out to the detainees (esp. those about to be let out) that it's this law firm's fault. Let them sort it out with the lawyers - I bet it wouldn't take long.

Re:Take out a hit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594854)

Maybe take away WiFi from a prison and put the word out to the detainees

They're called prisoners. 'Detainee' is State Department newspeak.

Re:Take out a hit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594768)

Do we have a Bitcoin pool going yet?

Re:Take out a hit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594812)

This was a copyright troll [google.com] who ended up taking his own life, but judging by the number of "victims" in the late 80s/early 90s I was actually surprised no one tried it.

Re:Take out a hit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594866)

At some point its just cheaper to pay someone to take a hit out on a troll like this. Maybe invite him out on your new yacht and have a little accident...

Yeah! I'll spill my Bloody Mary or red wine ALL over his white silk shirt! That'll teach the Sum Bitch!

Short term thinking (5, Interesting)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594886)

This solves one problem only once. Then the portfolios passes to the next person and the problem repeats itself.

To solve the general problem, we need to encourage more ridiculous patent trolls. This needs to get to a critical threshold where the entire system is brought on trial and exposed for the absolute absurdity that it is.

Re:Short term thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594898)

Not if everyone who tries these kind of asinine shakedowns gets "a hit" called on them. By the third or fourth time, people would really think twice about trolling.

Re:Short term thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594940)

Well, the Basque Separatists in Spain repeatedly assassinated the GM of a steel mill the Spanish Government wanted. It shortly became impossible to fill the position.

Re:Short term thinking (4, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595054)

This solves one problem only once. Then the portfolios passes to the next person and the problem repeats itself.

So does the solution. Repeat as necessary

Re:Take out a hit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595006)

Some one go to his house, and SHIT IN HIS BED.

Re:Take out a hit? (1)

nhstar (452291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595218)

Actually, I'm sorry... but there is a pre-existing patent, I believe filed in either Italy or Japan on this method...

Someone will be by to discuss it with your shortly.

'Strategic' reasons being ... (3, Funny)

recrudescence (1383489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594716)

what, avoiding a lynch mob?

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594758)

There is no money in going after home users. They would have to basically drive around looking for WiFi hotspots, and the money they would spend doing so would never be recouped. Much more profitable to just go after businesses.

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594874)

There is no money in going after home users. They would have to basically drive around looking for WiFi hotspots, and the money they would spend doing so would never be recouped. Much more profitable to just go after businesses.

While that is true; the last thing they want is bunch of pissed off people calling their representatives and demanding action; especially if some of the angry mob are donors. Congress could end their game in one swell foop, and if they made the mistake of targeting people in multiple distrust it'd be tantamount to suicide.

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595022)

Or they could be trying to set precedent. Whether or not they succeed is another matter entirely, but it's possible that they'd try to lean on the ISPs to tell their customers "LOL sry you gotta use wired connections now." The trolls will grow stronger and more bold with every settlement they're fed.

Which is why they must be killed with fire, assassinated outright as others above have suggested.

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594880)

Or they could just buy Google's countrywide map of wifi nodes.

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595056)

I'm about ready for lynch mobs. Patents which are not enforced in a timely manner need to be voided. There need to be better rules on when patents can be transferred (such as when a company is bought out), and companies should not be able to pick illogical targets for litigation.

Re:'Strategic' reasons being ... (2)

batteryman (245402) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595106)

what, avoiding a lynch mob?

Guess the mob of people will pay them a visit, after they take care of Wall Street.

Only one solution. (4, Insightful)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594718)

Kill them with fire.

Re:Only one solution. (4, Funny)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594732)

Kill them with fire.

Not enough. These aren't your run of the mill D&D trolls that can be killed by fire.

Nuke from orbit to be sure.

Re:Only one solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594750)

Acid. Not fire, acid. Learn your rolls, y0 :)

Re:Only one solution. (0)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594772)

I find it better to grind D&D trolls up and sell them as burgers to the city guards. You have to use trolls with high constitutions, to prevent stomach acid damage stopping them regenerating.

Trolls make good weapons (0)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594930)

I once had an bet with another character to see who could perform the most evil act.

My character found a bunch of trolls and chopped them up into 1" cubes and froze them solid. He then walked all around town tossing a cube or two into all the alleyways, under porches, into the trash bins, and so on. A week later the town was gone.

Didn't win the bet, though...

Re:Trolls make good weapons (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595074)

As the perp says in Dirty Harry, "I gots to know..."

What *did* win the bet?

Winner of the bet (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595212)

My opponent polymorphed himself [alter self] into an image of the [other] town's mayor, then went to the biggest orc camp he could find.

He killed their spiritual leader and raped the leader's woman in full view of the assembled horde, then gave a rather insulting speech about manhood, fighting capability, and followed it up with demands that they leave the area before his "town" came out and took them all into slavery.

Then he "flew" away.

A week or so later, just about the entire orc nation descended on the (unawares & unwarned) town. They killed the men, burned the buildings to the ground, and took the women and children as slaves.

The judge [of the bet] deemed that both towns had been destroyed, but the 2nd action caused more suffering.

Alas.

Classic patent trolling (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594734)

Ok. This is classic patent trolling. They aren't going after the Wi-Fi manufacturers who have the resources to possibly fight this in court but rather going against the little people. There's an obvious fix for this. Force people to sue the companies that make potentially infringing technologies rather than the people who buy them until there's a precedent with the company that the tech is infringing. Unfortunately, with the grab-bag of junk that is America Invents now done, everyone is going to avoid serious patent reform for another decade. So this isn't getting fixed for a while. Then we'll probably get some other terrible mix of good and bad stuff in some new law and the whole process will repeat itself. Good for the lawyers. Not very good for everyone else.

Re:Classic patent trolling (3, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594790)

How the christ can it possibly be legal to sue people who use technology that infringes a patent which was sold to them by someone else?

Isn't the whole enterprise of patents supposed to cover the manufacture and commercial sale of inventions, not their use?

Re:Classic patent trolling (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594872)

Because the U.S. patent system is fundamentally and completely broken. Patents cover the manufacture, distribution, or use of a patented technology. What, you didn't really think you owned that Wi-Fi access point, did you?

The only reason this complete joke of a scheme hasn't led to public outcry is that the patent trolls haven't managed to screw over a broad enough segment of the population to make any real impact. If strict application of patent law were to allow some dirtbag company like this to take away the country's Internet connections, however, I predict all of Washington D.C. would be burning within the hour, sure as if Congress canceled Monday Night Football.

As for this company, I vote we just go ahead and declare them to be enemy combatants and get it over with. It'll save everyone the trouble of dealing with the rioting and looting later. Just saying.

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594906)

What you would do is get access points for your business from large companies then counter sue them. They made the purportedly infringing devices and you bought it from them. It's their problem.

If Cisco and Motorola as were mentioned in the story as going to court on this got thousands of lawsuits each, there would be some urgency on their part.

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594944)

"method of using an access point to provide access to the Internet" or some such. Anyone using an access point is suddenly infringing, no device creation (or innovation) needed.

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595206)

How the christ can it possibly be legal to sue people who use technology that infringes a patent which was sold to them by someone else?

It's not even clear that they are suing over technology that was sold to them by someone else. This could be Broadcom suing their own customers (indirectly, they could be using equipment with Broadcom chips in it) and the company doing the suing could have close ties to Broadcom. Why else would Broadcom sell the patents to a patent troll?

Re:Classic patent trolling (4, Funny)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594804)

Ask to meet all their top executives of this cesspool, take them out on a rented yacht. Insure it to high hell. Take it off the coast of Mexico, and inform the local drug cartel that a bunch of wealthy gringos are meeting to figure out a way bomb them off the face of the earth, then over take their drug business. After the smoke, screaming and mutilation stop... go collect your insurance, pay off the boat owner, and pocket the remainder. Inform the U.S. justice system that Mexican Drug Lords have murdered American national. Let Karma play out and consider justice has been dispensed on all fronts. Building a better world one elimination at a time!

Re:Classic patent trolling (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594966)

Admit it; you're Randall Munroe's man in a hat aren't you?

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595028)

That's a pork pie hat to you sir! ;-)

Re:Classic patent trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595220)

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Classic patent trolling (3, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594806)

This is what we get with an out-of-control poorly-administered patenting system.

Can we patent football plays? That would get their attention.

Its time for our government to try like the dickens to encourage people doing things, not beat the hell out of anyone caught trying to do something.

When it comes to productive economic activity, our government seems to look at us like moonshiners.

I wait with baited breath for our government to realize one day that we can't print prosperity, or get it by taking it away from someone else. We have to build it. Once we realize that, we will have unlimited prosperity.

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595124)

There you go, let's patent the process of removing urine or fecal matter from the bottom of an infant, then sue every parent in the country to cough up a little loose change. Call it the the potty toll. Tell America, they can pay the potty toll or squeeze their representatives into cleaning up the toilet that the patent system is. Use the money collected to lobby the ass off of the Representatives responsible for the current wreck that is the Patent System.

Re:Classic patent trolling (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595196)

Can we patent football plays? That would get their attention.

I don't see why we couldn't. Interesting idea ...

That's what we get... (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594846)

Good for the lawyers. Not very good for everyone else.

That's what we get for making so many lawyers in this country. People bitch about how med schools and dental schools "don't make enough doctors/dentists". Law schools make absurd surpluses of lawyers and now we see what happens when we have too many of them. The lawyers aren't getting enough business from people, so they have to find new ways to keep themselves busy by suing each other.

Not to say that we couldn't use more medical and dental professionals, but we sure as hell don't need any more lawyers. Somewhere in between there should be a happy medium.

Re:That's what we get... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594972)

I don't think I'd want some of the lawyers to become doctors...

Re:That's what we get... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595098)

Law schools actually follow a more free market philosophy than medical and dental schools. The AMA and ADA respectively keep a tight leash on those schools respectively in order to artificially create a shortage and keep their practitioners' salaries up. Law schools manage to keep enrollment high by just straight out lying about job prospects.

Re:Classic patent trolling (3, Informative)

Ocyris (1742966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595136)

Actually a google search indicates that Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC is being used by Cisco Systems, Inc. and Motorola Solutions, Inc. Papers were filed back in May.

"Strategic Reasons" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594748)

They could not recoup their losses going after home users the way they can with business users.

Re:"Strategic Reasons" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594830)

They could not recoup their losses going after home users the way they can with business users.

What losses?

CSIRO (1)

Techojoe (704378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594756)

Thats funny I thought that the CSIRO owned the patent on WIFI http://www.itnews.com.au/News/158194,csiros-wi-fi-patent-victory-earns-200m-and-counting.aspx [itnews.com.au]

Re:CSIRO (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594780)

Only one (some?) of many that would apply.

(Come on Slashdot, I'm logged in, and I still can't post twice in 5 minutes?)

Re:CSIRO (5, Informative)

femto (459605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594970)

I'd like to know what number patents Innovatio are using. The CSIRO patent (5,487,069, filed in 1992) was a pretty complete description of the 802.11 OFDM physical layer. Surely anything else has to be a minor and obvious increment? The oldest patent I can see, with inventors Meier and Mahany, is 5,394,436, filed in 1994, and it does not refer to the CSIRO patent (meaning it is open to challenge from the CSIRO patent?) 5,394,436 might apply to the MAC layer, rather than the physical layer, and it is quite vague. Defenders might want to refer to the PARROT project, which the CSIRO was running as part of its WLAN work, predating 5,394,436. PARROT was a complete WLAN MAC layer (google: csiro parrot mac layer).

There was also a PhD thesis that came out of Macquarie University in the early 1990's. The name of the author escapes me, but the supervisor was David Skellern. The thesis described a MAC layer for mobile IP, and fed heavily into the standards at the time.

Re:CSIRO (4, Informative)

femto (459605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595012)

Andrew Myles was the author of the thesis.

Go get em' boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594786)

Anonymous HELP!

Re:Go get em' boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595114)

Not your personal army.

I don't see the rationale (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594808)

The page linked to by this summary did not explain why the patent trolls are going after the users of WiFi devices, rather than vendors. This seems like a notable change from the usual strategy of patent holders; after all the places mentioned are making little - if any - money off of their use of WiFi devices.

Re:I don't see the rationale (1)

stephathome (1862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594894)

That's what I was wondering too. Hotels and such aren't creating the technology alleged to be infringing. They bought it in good faith. If you're going after someone who infringed on your patent, you go after the one who actually infringed. I only hope the judge in this case has enough sense to see this, throw the case out and massively fine the trolls.

Re:I don't see the rationale (5, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594896)

"The page linked to by this summary did not explain why the patent trolls are going after the users of WiFi devices, rather than vendors."

actually it did:

"The company is demanding a one-time lump sum licensing payment between $2,300 and $5,000 from each of the several hundred defendants targeted in its lawsuits, McAndrews said. Some of the defendants have already settled, he added."

"In casting such a wide net, Innovatio (it means “innovation” in Latin, McAndrews said) displays a new approach in patent enforcement. In a field where patent-holding companies often demand six- or seven-figure dollar amounts for damages, five-figure settlements are considered basement-low. By demanding a few thousand dollars, Innovatio ensures that, for many small business owners, taking up a legal defense won’t make financial sense."

They are suing when they can pursue action cheaper than the defendant can defend. If the patent were strong they'd go after big money, but the big money will fight and since the patent is weak, they will instead play spam.

Also, by suing a large number of people in diverse locations and jurisdictions they will make it difficult for defendants to defend collectively and economically.

Think of all the Jobs Being Created by the Job Creator Class, isn't it lovely?

Re:I don't see the rationale (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594910)

It's the usual reasons. Easy shakedown target. The defendants are ill equipped to invalidate the patents since they aren't technology companies and the extortion amount is kept carefully below the cost of going to court.

It's pretty much the same as any shakedown racket with the courts playing the part of the leg breaker.

Re:I don't see the rationale (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595042)

Yep, if I were sued I'd probably raise enough procedural headaches to make sure my eventual settlement was a wash for them or net loss. But I would settle in the end. I mean, I'm a lawyer and it still wouldn't be worth my time to learn convoluted patent litigation.

Re:I don't see the rationale (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595154)

It's to set precedence (soften up the target), to use later when going after bigger money later

Nuke the lawyers from orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594828)

Or at the very least, declare this kind of trolling behavior to be unethical and find a way to start disbarring them.

Frustrating Waste of Money & Time (2, Insightful)

babblesaurus (2473482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594834)

I'm sure part of their strategy is to target small companies and attempt to bully them in paying a few grand to "license" the technology. I would imagine that these guys know this case will be thrown out once a defendant with resources goes to court. I'm not going to claim to be a patent expert, but I do know a couple of things: 1) The patent has to be actively protected. So if it was filed in the 90s and not enforced until today, from my understanding they essentially forfeit the right to later lay claims to the patent. 2) If it is known to "someone skilled in the art of" as the next logical step, then the patent is null. I obviously have no clue what all of those patents exactly cover, but I'm going to run that with prior art in wireless transmission in radio and television that there is a precedent that data transmission via an industry standard would be a next logical step. These asshats need to be nuked with a low orbit ion cannon.

Time to Indemnify (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594904)

Some brave(r) HW manufacturer or service provider needs to act as an indemnifier and take up the fight on behalf of their customers...

Of course this would only fight off the current troll and would then make them a stalking horse for whatever crocodiles hold more potent submarine patents...possibly large competitors of theirs..

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Frustrating Waste of Money & Time (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595014)

The patent has to be actively protected. So if it was filed in the 90s and not enforced until today, from my understanding they essentially forfeit the right to later lay claims to the patent

In the U.S.? No. Trademarks have to be actively protected. Patents -- not so.

Re:Frustrating Waste of Money & Time (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595026)

"I'm not going to claim to be a patent expert, but I do know a couple of things: 1) The patent has to be actively protected."

Patents do NOT need to be protected, or necessarily even filed before the patent was violated, to be enforced. Patents, copyright, and trademarks - they're all different things.

Objection! (1)

ToasterBox (1617969) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594882)

"The Patent Examiner blog has the incredible story of Innovatio IP..." the only thing incredible about this story is that this company isn't instantly obliterated by some kind of sane patent law (oxymoron?)

This is why... (3, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594920)

...the western world's economy is collapsing. When you make ideas property, everyone gets hurt, even the big guys (but more so, the little guys). We already have patents and copyright strangling the market and preventing innovation, and now we're seeing more and more their use to undermine technology that is already a basis part of out society.

This is just another example in an infinitely long chain of abuses, and still there is essentially no proof that either patents or copyright actually encourage much of anything. So, are we going to abolish imaginary property, or fade into legally enforced obscurity? Because I know China won't give a crap about our patents once they no longer need to sell us cheap junk. If all we export is old ideas and lawsuits, there will reach a point when other powerful countries just shut down that trade all together.

Wake up, people, now is the time to elect people who are going to do something about this untenable situation. You aren't going to get another chance.

Conflict of interest!!!11 (2)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594928)

But but.. how are they going to find a judge who doesn't use wireless technology? The entire system is against them! Oh, the poor trolls!

Seriously though, maybe this one [techdirt.com] .

America: This is why we can't have nice things (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594948)

I just feel sorry for the people that are going to get hurt with these frivolous lawsuits

I bet... (1)

WeeBit (961530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594960)

They go after home users before they go after ISP's because their so strategic reasoning is that home users will be less likely to fight them than an ISP would.

Why hasn't anyone set up a website to help people fight these patent trolls? Don't look at me, I am broke right now.

Re:I bet... (2)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595100)

home users will be less likely to fight them than an ISP would.
Well, I can't afford to fight them in court, but I CAN afford bullets.

WaveLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594986)

Would I be infringing the patent if I used WaveLAN? Its wireless networking developed in the 80's according to Wikipedia. No patent relating to that should still be valid.

What if I bought a broadcom product covered by the broadcom owned patents before they were sold to this troll?

You shouldn't be able to buy an unenforced patent that is in wide use then sue everyone infringing it.
Selling a product covered by your patents without requiring a license to use it should implicitly grant any use of that product an irrevokable license to the patent. Therefore any product sold before the patents were sold to the troll should already have an indefinite license. Any thing sold after should force the troll to first sue the company still selling the product.

Extending that common sense further, any other company who produced these infringing products should be granted the right to continue to produce the products and to grant the same rights to the use of the product.

Regardless of all that common sense this is a patent covering a technology based on an IEEE standard that has been in common use since 1999.

If successful ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595044)

it would likely lead to patent reform. I wish him luck

Invented in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595070)

Wifi was invented in Australia by CSIRO I think who make millions from company's who use wifi on things like mobile phones. Don't understand how a patent troll is suing people in America for using wifi. Seams dodgy to me

Can't lawyers be censured or disbarred for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595072)

Curious to hear from any lawyers here. If these guys are truly abusing the court system with frivolous lawsuits, can't they be disciplined by the bar association or by the courts themselves?

They are infringing on my patent (2, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595076)

I hold a patent on the process of buying patents from other companies and then suing people who it might be argued are using something vaguely related to my patents and who are wealthy enough to pay me off but not wealthy enough to defend themselves legally.
These bastards owe me money!

Re:They are infringing on my patent (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595214)

Doesn't IBM already have that patent?

Troll is SOOOOO obvious (2)

asdbffg (1902686) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595080)

Let's pretend for a moment, that these people aren't just trolls looking for quick settlements. Difficult, I know.

But in what universe does it make sense for a patent holder to sue the end user? That would be like Apple suing a consumer for buying a Samsung tablet.

I would like to see one of the troll victims post an open letter that says something along the lines of, "Go away or prepare to be counter-sued into oblivion." Alas, TFA makes it sound like someone could try that and still lose. :(

Impartial... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595090)

Good luck trying to find an impartial Judge to rule on that one....

WHEN PATENTS ATTACK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595094)

WHEN PATENTS ATTACK!

------->http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

Pretty good story on Patent Trolls and the like if you want some more examples of this type of robbery.

I wonder how much money all these suits waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595096)

Sign it...
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/direct-patent-office-cease-issuing-software-patents/vvNslSTq

The mature and dignified response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595140)

The mature and dignified response is to take a page directly from Cave Johnson. Burn down their houses with lemons.

Yea right ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595144)

Yea right the patent system is not broken ...

Just quick question hove can I infringe. I did not steal the patent. Should the manufacturer not be responsible ?

Any info about the patents in question? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595210)

I didn't find any information about the patents themselves, just that they'd been acquired from Broadcom.

How can we properly rant about "obvious" and "prior art" if we don't know what the patents entail?

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