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Patent Troll Now Armed With Thousands of Nortel Patents

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the loaded-for-bear dept.

Patents 220

dgharmon writes in with a story about the final outcome of thousands of Nortel patents that were bought last July. "You may recall last summer that Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Ericsson and Sony all teamed up to buy Nortel's patents for $4.5 billion. They beat out a team of Google and Intel who bid a bit less. While there was some antitrust scrutiny over the deal, it was dropped and the purchase went through. Apparently, the new owners picked off a bunch of patents to transfer to themselves... and then all (minus EMC, who, one hopes, was horrified by the plans) decided to support a massive new patent troll armed with the remaining 4,000 patents. The company is called Rockstar Consortium, and it's run by the folks who used to run Nortel's patent licensing program anyway — but now employs people whose job it is to just find other companies to threaten." On a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the White House to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."

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220 comments

A Very New Petition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130369)

As of near first post, that petition had only 2 votes. It might be interesting to see how many /. readers vote for it.

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130417)

I just made it 5.

Re:A Very New Petition (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130609)

Uhhh...why exactly are you bothering? After he basically said "Yeah LOL go fuck yourself" over the pot petition all should know you'd get more results by writing it on a piece of paper and promptly burning it. For all his bullshit he is just as big if not a bigger sellout that Dubya was, personally I'd say he's worse as Dubya actually believed a lot of the shit he was saying whereas this one is just cashing the checks. But if you think he is gonna give a flying shit what the "people" think I have some swampland you may be interested in. If you manage to get the requisite number all you will get is a flowery "Ur not rich so fuck off' speech, so why bother?

As for TFA...is anybody surprised? With every move Forbes gets proved right on Ballmer being a shitty CEO, hell if the man had an original thought his head would asplode. And as for the rest of the list, Sony and Ericson are doing lousy and could probably use the cash, same with RIM, and Apple just plain old hates to have ANY competition other than MSFT. See Job's comments on how he would use his fortune to nuke Android for instance.

So how anybody could look at THAT list of names and no figure out they were gonna do something nasty I'll never know.

Re:A Very New Petition (4, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130613)

Uhhh...why exactly are you bothering? After he basically said "Yeah LOL go fuck yourself" over the pot petition all should know you'd get more results by writing it on a piece of paper and promptly burning it. For all his bullshit he is just as big if not a bigger sellout that Dubya was, personally I'd say he's worse as Dubya actually believed a lot of the shit he was saying whereas this one is just cashing the checks. But if you think he is gonna give a flying shit what the "people" think I have some swampland you may be interested in. If you manage to get the requisite number all you will get is a flowery "Ur not rich so fuck off' speech, so why bother?

As for TFA...is anybody surprised? With every move Forbes gets proved right on Ballmer being a shitty CEO, hell if the man had an original thought his head would asplode. And as for the rest of the list, Sony and Ericson are doing lousy and could probably use the cash, same with RIM, and Apple just plain old hates to have ANY competition other than MSFT. See Job's comments on how he would use his fortune to nuke Android for instance.

So how anybody could look at THAT list of names and no figure out they were gonna do something nasty I'll never know.

Stop shooting them down with little things like facts.

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130785)

"He who shall not be named"?

I'm assuming you're talking about Obama?

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

jedwidz (1399015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131229)

Lose the battle, win the war.

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130453)

As of near first post, that petition had only 2 votes. It might be interesting to see how many /. readers vote for it.

To tell us how many /.ers fall in the very narrow intelligence gap between "too dumb to upvote a petition" and "smart enoogh to realize upvoting a petition is a waste of time"?

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130591)

I dont think its a well formed and cogent thought, so i passed.

Re:A Very New Petition (2)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130759)

I must say I disagree with the petition too. I like the idea of trying to prevent patent trolls. Actually I'd like to prevent any case where a giant company will use the legal system to crush a small company without too much of a basis. (If Android was by small_company_inc, how do you think the Oracle vs small_company_inc would have finished? My guess it would have finished with Oracle buying small_company_inc.)

But requiring a 3 times what was asked is ridiculous. First of all, it does not cover cases where you ask for a simple shutdown of the product. Then, it will prevent small companies from asking reasonnable damages. Also, uou might sue legitimatelly and lose because of some loophole or because you were wrong.

Re:A Very New Petition (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131061)

Also, uou might sue legitimatelly and lose because of some loophole or because you were wrong.

That's the glaring issue I see with this idea. It's well-meaning, but in reality it could end up screwing the little guy even more. The fact is, most of the patent trolls have access to funds that most people can only dream of, and with those funds they are able to by star legal talent, while you're stuck with Joe Schmoe the Lawyer who got his degree online because that's all you can afford.

This will have a chilling effect like you would not believe on these types of lawsuits being brought by anyone that isn't a megacorporation because even if their case has merit, the 3x the damages rules will basically destroy them financially while the thieves get to not only continue stealing their work but have one less competitor (albeit a small one) to deal with.

Re:A Very New Petition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131365)

by = from or beside, near
buy = purchase (colloquially: to hire)

like = similar to, but not identical
that = the thing itself

"This will have a chilling effect [similar to, but not really the same as] you [not believing] on these types of lawsuits..."

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131403)

You know what I meant, but thanks for wasting the time.

Re:A Very New Petition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130457)

Joel H
Mobile, AL
May 27, 2012
Signature # 6
Terry M
Phoenix, AZ
May 27, 2012
Signature # 5
Peter H
Honolulu, HI
May 27, 2012
Signature # 4
John R
Pelzer, SC
May 27, 2012
Signature # 3

Re:A Very New Petition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130507)

13 votes now

One slight ammendment i would suggest thou the 3 times the damages should be paid upfront in CASH to the courts the case can not start untill the monies are paid in full.

Re:A Very New Petition (4, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130743)

Okay, this petition is stupid and will only hurt the small guy. Say for example I work really hard on something and get a patent. Time goes on and I'm making money with the patent and all is well until a big company starts infringing on it. I could sue the company. I have the 100k it takes to even start the case. but unfortunately I my lawyers aren't as good, because I don't have the 10 lawyers they have working on it. They end up wining and it would put me out of business.

In the current setting I'd be out lawyer fees. In the new setting I'd be completely screwed even if I was seeking a reasonable amount. A reasonable amount could add up to quite a lot if the infringement is big enough. For example I'm selling my product and license out the technology for say $100 per reproduction. If they only infringed 100 times it's not that bad, but if it's mass infringement with millions of reproductions it's quite a lot, but still a fair number.

I could get behind this if there was a stipulation of "Unless you're actively using the patent in a product" or something along those lines. That would be enough to stop the trolls and not completely screw people who are using patents the way they should be.

I didn't pull the $100k number out of my ass either. I'm in the process of getting a patent on some items and I was told by more than one lawyer that's the starting fee (it varied a bit but that was the lowest figure) for litigation. I wanted to see if it was even worth pursuing, because if I can't afford to defend it what's the point in getting it? I guess I could have my name on a patent and that's pretty cool, but I don't know if it's $12k cool. I think I'm going to end up applying, because even if everything goes to heck I can always put it in my resume and it might be enough to make it standout.

Mod parent up! Re:A Very New Petition (2)

carou (88501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130941)

I agree. This proposal would stack the court system against the little guy, which is exactly the wrong solution to the problem.

The problem is not patent law, per se, but that too many trivial patents are granted. That, and patents which describe a problem, trying to claim that all solutions must infringe.

Re:A Very New Petition (4, Interesting)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130959)

Use it or loss it should be the way to go. You get granted a patent or buy it and if in say 2 years you don't have a commercially available product that uses that patient it goes into public domain. You can't sue someone unless you have an actual product that customers could have bought instead after that period. Before that period you can sue as normal since it might take a couple years to spin up production. But sitting on it and hoping someone infringes is BS.

Re:A Very New Petition (2)

vivian (156520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131187)

I like this - if a patent holding company does actually produce a token product to get around this new rule, and only sell a small small number of units, then that shows what the patent is worth, too.

One of the most objectionable things with patents is that even if you do accept that you are using patented technology, the licencing fees seem to be way out of proportion to the value of the patent. If you were to actually take any typical program that you develop apart line by line and identify all the patents it infringes, then go and seek licencing for each of those patents, I am sure the end price would be many many more times what the software could ever be sold for.

Re:A Very New Petition (1)

fsck1nhippies (2642761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131159)

Maybe.. just maybe, you would have figured out that the violation of your patent was so blatant that you could sue for it. Every patent lawyer in the country would be sitting behind you asking for cash. Are you not sure you can win??? Maybe you shouldn't sue! I just went through an ATM suit where they used retail transaction to mean withdrawing money, and public network to mean a VPN over strictly comcast circuits. If you are going to sue, ball up and go all the way! Don't give me this poor programmer shit... I am a poor programmer too.

Re:A Very New Petition (2)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131217)

Just because you're sure you can win doesn't mean you will. Just because you're right doesn't mean you'll win. Just because you're getting screwed over and it's blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain doesn't mean you will win. I'm not exactly sure where you've been for the last 20 years, but things have changed a lot.

Re:A Very New Petition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131389)

Worst thought out petition, ever.

You have a device. Bigbucks Corp copies it. You take them to court for, say, ONE MILLION DOLLARS. You lose. Pay $3M to the thieving bastards at Bigbucks Corp.

Brilliant idea.

What's that you say, there's a flaw in my argument I jumped straight to "you lose". Hello... Wake up and smell the coffee...

Meanwhile, in California... (4, Funny)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130375)

...patent lawyers are rubbing their hands with glee. I should have gone to law school after all...

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130401)

Law is business.
Business is war.
Therefore, law is war.
So, who's on the home front, and who are the terrorists?

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130963)

Probably the first case of jewish terrorism, can I get an Oh Snap?

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130407)

NO. There's something to be said of self-worth. My dad told me when I was a kid that he would disown me if I became a lawyer. I took it in jest, and I didn't ever really ever consider that in my career path. But I wasn't worldly-wise back then, and now that I am (sort of), am so incredibly glad I didn't take that path.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (2)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130797)

Believe it or not there are honorable lawyers left. They're rare, but they do exist. Unfortunately, they seem to be poor while the less honorable ones seem to profiting. I do know a couple and they've done a lot of good keeping innocent people out of jail and if they think the client is honestly guilty they generally won't take their case. Which is why they're normally broke, because the innocent people aren't the ones with the money. We even have one here on /. he goes by the handle NYCountyLawyer. I'd consider him an honorable lawyer.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (5, Interesting)

cboslin (1532787) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131155)

..they seem to be poor while the less honorable ones seem to profiting....

The same can be said of politicians and pretty much any other profession. Its sad when the less honorable are rewarded for being that way. Its sad when we the sheeple, continue to support their BS by doing business with them, buying their products (gas, oil, energy, current financial system, etc...) At what point does this gravitate toward Fascism from Capitalism...is debatable, with the debate being shaped by the media and talking points utterly controlled by those same not honorable 1%. Personally I think we are already there...Fascism.

In my mind Capitalism requires:

  1. ~ livable wages, not just minimum wage...if In-N-Out Burger can pay $10.00 per hour [slashdot.org] to a high schooler getting his first job, what is the excuse for McDonalds, Wendys, Burger King, etc... They could but they do not want too. After all you want people to be able to afford to purchase your products, right. Ford understood this back in 1914, and he was far from a humanitarian:

  2. ~ Healthy workers with 100% health care, its more than just a safety net, its required, if your workers are not healthy enough to work, they are not good to anyone, including themselves. And annual health costs of $18,365 - $24,965 [slashdot.org] , ($8.83 – 12.00 per hour) is NOT affordable for anyone earning minimum wage. Don't think you are okay if you are working for someone else as you are paying close to 41% of your health care costs (medical care and perscriptions) [slashdot.org] which comes to $8,584 annually [slashdot.org] or $4.13 per hour. Still way too high. Regardless of who is in control, costs are only going to go up as the groups that could prevent that have been weakened by both political parties. Two-party system, what a joke...you have no choice.

    The current health care system of Dont get sick... if you get sick Die Quickly [youtube.com] is woefully inadequate.

  3. ~ Flexible work hours, not inflexible work hours where you do not just work 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, but are considered less than perfect if you want to have time with your family instead of putting in 9, 10, or 11 hour days...unpaid hours at that. Get creative, instead of just 20% flex time, give your employees the options of working 3 X 12 hour days, 36 hours per week, get paid for 40 hours and have 4 days off. Just the savings in Gas to/from work commute alone would help your worker and their family. Might even bleed over into helping the economy both directly and indirectly.

  4. ~ Ability for two non-professional incomes to afford the costs of a family, all expenses including money left over to invest and save for emergencies and retirement.
  5. ~ Secure voting that is 100% verifiable in all city, county, state and national elections. If the vote can not be verified via a paper receipt, it must be thrown out.
  6. ~ There are others, but that would be a great start....without the above, you are more likely supporting Fascism masquerading as Capitalism. Makes you hate isms, doesn't it, which is a very healthy realization.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (4, Funny)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130551)

Try prostitution, it's about just as honorable.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (5, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130587)

But being a lawyer makes more money and you get to decide who you screw.

The oldest and wisest profession (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130615)

But being a lawyer makes more money and you get to decide who you screw.

A lot of highly paid escorts would disagree with you.

There are lower tier escorts that might not have as much choice, but there are a lot of entry level lawyers with even less choice - and probably worse pay when you factor in takeaway after the student loan payment.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131031)

But being a lawyer makes more money and you get to decide who you screw.

Yeah but prostitutes have better access to drugs.

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130755)

Oh, prostitution is much more honorable unless it involves blackmail. Then it's just a little more honorable. Now why did I almost misspell honorable as horable, twice?

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (2)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130889)

Now why did I almost misspell honorable as horable, twice?

That's whoreble!

Re:Meanwhile, in California... (2)

vaccum pony (721932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130777)

Honor has nothing to do with it. Prostitution has a leg up (so to speak) as it is honest.

Lawsuit changes aren't going to help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130385)

Big companies will still have a huge advantage over the little guy. The only way to make patents work is to develop shorter length protections, or switch to a level of diminishing protection over time.

3 times? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130395)

How about if you bring a frivolous patent suit and lose, you are put out of business and *all* your assets are transferred.

Same for copyright suits.

Re:3 times? (1)

Majikk (60247) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130421)

How about if you bring a frivolous patent suit and lose, you are put out of business and *all* your assets are transferred.

Same for copyright suits.

Needs a slight modification:

How about if you bring a frivolous patent suit and lose, you are put out of business and "all" your assets are transferred.

There we go!

Re:3 times? (2, Informative)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131095)

Not a problem. Company owns a bunch of patents as soon as it decides to go patent trolling it creates a new $2 company and shifts the trolling patent into that. If it wins the profits transfer back to the parent company, if it loses it goes belly up and the parent company loses a now worthless patent, cue, schadenfreude laughter. Fines unpaid, debts unpaid and triple damages, ohhh, yeah, make it tens times, hundreds times, even a thousand times, makes no difference not one cent paid.

Re:3 times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131175)

You may not be able to legally tie it back to the main company, but you can tie it to the people arguing the case. Disbar the lawyers filing frivolous suits.

Re:3 times? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130423)

Because that would be silly and a gross over reaction.

Re:3 times? (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130583)

Right, because corporations as people isnt a silly overreaction. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Obvious and wanton abuse of the legal system for profit should be a punishable crime, severe enough to discourage others from trying it. We put people to death for less.

Re:3 times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131063)

Locally someone just ran an old lady down with his car. She died. He was sentanced to 2-4 years in prison. In other news 3 MP3 files downloaded in the 90's just put a man in jail for 10 years. The legal system isn't broken at all.

Re:3 times? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130477)

Ah, the RIAA method of damage calculation. Well, I guess if it's good for them then why not?!

Who cares about ludicrous overreactions?

Re:3 times? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130925)

3 times is a start - and remember, those trolls are often shell companies with their patents transferred (like original article was discussing); if you are defendant and win, they don't have the money to fork over, so you could probably do a land-grab from their assets. (not a lawyer nor american, so no idea how stuff actually works, but one can dream)

Re:3 times? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131043)

ok, so now legally define 'frivolous' to our satisfaction - patent trolls are obviously evil, but they do own the patents and seek to justify them in court when someone else infringes them. This is quite acceptable.

Now, fixing the broad and vague software patents, that would be something useful.

Re:3 times? (1)

fsck1nhippies (2642761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131197)

Even more useful would be to prevent the transfer of software patents period. If we stopped using the patent system as a way to "get rich" maybe we would get somewhere. As it stands a grandmother is afraid to make a toaster that makes a ham-egg-and-cheese on demand as it would violate a patent that edison had on nichrome.

What did anyone think was going to happen? (5, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130411)

So a group of companies band together to buy patents and they create a single organisation to handle it. What else would they do? It is hardly likely that any company would be happy with the whole lot being overseen by one of the other member companies, and they would be in negotiation for years if they tried to split them all up.

So the question to the submitter is: what other outcome did you expect?

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (4, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130709)

This is in clear violation of the original intent of patents.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131253)

This is in clear violation of the original intent of patents.

How so? The purpose of a patent is to give someone a monopoly over a specific invention, meaning to prevent other people from being able to use it or even import goods that duplicate the invention. In the event that the patent holder cannot make use of the patent themselves (eg. too costly to implement) then they can licence it or even transfer the ownership of the patent to someone else, usually for a fee.

This is exactly what has happened here. Ownership has been transferred. This is business as usual in the patent industry.

Now you may believe that patents should not be owned by companies, only individual inventors. But that simplistic idea disappeared long ago; long before the Nortel patents went on the market. Surely nobody actually expected these particular patents to be used in the limited way they were hundreds of years ago.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131343)

According to the constitution the purpose of patents is to "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." I think it's safe to say that buying up useless patents and using them to harass new entries to the market does the opposite.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (0, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130761)

So the question to the submitter is: what other outcome did you expect?

Actually, a lot of us predicted this, but were drowned out by the flood of astroturf that's overwhelming Slashdot.

This is SOP for Microsoft. They have zero interest in spending money developing new products or improving their existing lines and every interest in killing off any competition that might force them to spend that money.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131283)

Actually, a lot of us predicted this, but were drowned out by the flood of astroturf that's overwhelming Slashdot.

Just because someone disagrees with you, that does not make them an astroturfer.

This is SOP for Microsoft. They have zero interest in spending money developing new products or improving their existing lines and every interest in killing off any competition that might force them to spend that money.

Why are you picking on Microsoft? Shouldn't you also blame Apple, EMC, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony? And also Google, who also attempted to buy the patents.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131303)

Apple, EMC, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony

Oops. I meant to edit out EMC.

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130815)

So the question to the submitter is: what other outcome did you expect?

Them setting up an organisation that managed the patents for defensive purposes only?

Re:What did anyone think was going to happen? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131333)

Them setting up an organisation that managed the patents for defensive purposes only?

How quaint. Given that the patents are now being run by the folks who used to run Nortel's patent licensing program, it means that not much has really changed under the new ownership. Nortel may have claimed to want to use them defensively, but they still had a licencing program for them.

Time for a change (2)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130429)

How long will it be before the politicians see the problem of software patents as harming their countries own industries? Guess it will never happen, as most politicians are educated as sleazy lawyers, and they are only interested in personal gain.

Re:Time for a change (5, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130589)

Until Europe, India and China overtake the US.

Re:Time for a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130863)

(Time for a change) Until Europe, India and China overtake the US.*

As of now, your comment is modded "Funny". But the way things are going, we'll soon need a "Tragic But True" Mod.

--------

* See the italics, dimwads?

Re:Time for a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131167)

Welcome to 2002.

easy solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130431)

just shoot the lawyers on sight, then burn down the CEO's homes

Re:easy solution... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130519)

just shoot the lawyers on sight, then burn down the CEO's homes

The insurance companies holding the respective life & home owner policies are not going to like that at all.

So now I can rip off the little guy (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130449)

Find cool tech developed by start up
Rip it off
Don't worry about lawsuit since risk is too great

I'm going to go live under a bridge (2)

Ice Station Zebra (18124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130467)

"But Trolls live under bridges." Yes, but at least those trolls you can kill with a sword.

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130565)

and the pen is mightier than the sword

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130643)

A lobbyist and a bribe is mightier than a pen and all the pens of all the little people. Every time.

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130657)

Not every time. See PIPA

PIPA isn't dead, just the name is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131105)

PIPA was politics, my "guess" is a few guys were getting a little big in the britches, so some other big wigs decided to set them up for a failure and make some good press "See, democracy still works! Yeah! Wahoo!" and then let the mess disappear into oblivion (a few weeks) and then bring in the real meat of the laws as amendments as usual... rinse, lather, repeat.

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130673)

The pen signs the check!

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40131099)

I think you mean 'the penis mightier'

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130637)

Yeah but they regenerate, so you're going to need to add in some acid or fire to properly kill it.

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130829)

> Yes, but at least those trolls you can kill with a sword.

Only during troll hunting season

Re:I'm going to go live under a bridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130961)

I can assure you that you can kill patent trolls with a sword as well. Try it!

"...petition to the Whitehouse to make a law..." (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130471)

A civics lesson for you: the Whitehouse does not have the power to make laws. That is the exclusive domain of the Congress. You see, we have this little thing called "separation of powers"...

Re:"...petition to the Whitehouse to make a law... (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130531)

A civics lesson for you: the Whitehouse does not have the power to make laws. That is the exclusive domain of the Congress. You see, we have this little thing called "separation of powers"...

Very true ... but the devil is in the details. The White House can draft legislation that is then sponsored by a member of congress just like 100's of lobbyists do.

Re:"...petition to the Whitehouse to make a law... (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130793)

A civics lesson for you: the Whitehouse does not have the power to make laws. That is the exclusive domain of the Congress. You see, we have this little thing called "separation of powers"...

Yeah.. you're right.. *somebody* needs to tell Comrade Obama that.. He's going apeshit getting his b.s. unconstitutional stuff done via executive order.. He also should be advised that he's the POTUS NOT King Barack the First... Oh who AM I kidding.. Both parties in CONgress could care less if he runs the country into the ground...

I only hope ... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130475)

that the Rockstar Consortium sues a few high profile companies and causes a lot of damage and mayhem. Then, maybe (hopefully), the uproar will be so loud that the politicians will need to heed it above the whisperings of the lobbyists and will have to admit the stupidity of the current patent system so sanity will prevail and they will fix it. However: I fear that I am just dreaming and that we will just slowly die the death of 1,000 patent lawsuits :-(

Proposal (4, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130479)

You can only get money from a patent if you actually produce something that uses that patent.
Otherwise, you can hang it on your wall and look at it.

Re:Proposal (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130557)

I agree with the notion, but we are trying to corral slime here. It won't be enough just to force a company to "produce something". First off, the troll will find a wiling Chinese or American "company" to "produce" "something". The company will be a token company or one with no scruples. The "something" will be a piece of shit but with enough crap in it so that it will be unclear to any judge or jury that it doesn't involve the patent. The "produce" will simply be they got some useful other idiot company to "buy" the first "company"'s product, probably no money changes hands.

We'll be wanting a more stringent set of criteria to meet. I'm not a lawyer or Business School Product, but there are probably a stringent set of hurdles that could provide what we need. At least it would cut down on the trolls, but it wouldn't eliminate them. Wherever there is money to be made, there is nothing a segment of humanity won't try to get the money without doing any real work.

Re:Proposal (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130713)

but we are trying to corral slime here

I used to work for Nortel back in 00/01. Nothing new, believe me.

Dance with the gorilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130495)

Now automatic by law, instead of de facto by virtue of countersuits.

Look at... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130503)

my glorious balls not giving a holy flying fuck about US broken patent shithole...

Re:Look at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130579)

You obviously care or you wouldnt have taken the time out of your busy schedule to troll about it now would you? Now, as a citizen of the USA, this definitely effects me. As a citizen of wherever the fuck you live, I assure you, this will effect you as well. Of that you can rest assured. Though I can see why you would try to rationalize it away. Funny how the human mind works that way.

GOOD! (1, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130537)

They are ALL going Global Thermonuclear WAR! Bring it, society will only tolerate this for so long and the call to kill all patents will begin. Its gonna be bloddy, but the time has come.

Petition FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130545)

Sorry but I will not give the gubbermint one stinking piece of MY Copyrighted Personal Information.

Put in on one the many other petition websites and you have backing [still do but not with the *pay wall*].

I was writing assembly when Gates, Jobs, et al were still hanging out in their parents garage.

SOFTWARE ONLY PATENTS should not exists at all.

The code behind your *invention* [code for the new shiny GPU chip] is under copyright or possibly Trade Secret but not patent.

Trebel (1)

YesDinosaursDidExist (1268920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130597)

"In a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the Whitehouse to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."

That's called "treble damages."

petition should have said "frivolous" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130647)

because right now it sounds like it wants to ban ALL patent lawsuits which obviously no elected official is going to go for...

Re:petition should have said "frivolous" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130927)

What patents are related to the 555?

There are no patents on the 555. Signetics did not want to apply for a patent. You see, the situation with patents in Silicon Valley in 1970 was entirely different than it is now. Everybody was stealing from everybody else. I designed the 555 Signetics produced it, and six months, or before a year later, National had it, Fairchild had it, and nobody paid any attention to patents. The people at Signetics told me they didn’t want to apply for a patent, because what would happen if they tried to enforce that patent, is the people from Fairchild would come back with a Manhattan-sized telephone book and say “These are our patents, now let’s see what you’re violating”. It was a house of cards – if you blew on it, the whole thing collapsed. It took about ten years to change. I guess it was some new companies that didn’t have ancient history and did have a strong patent, and started enforcing, and that changed to whole situation. It is very intense now. The same thing – I have a patent on the phase locked loop, and that would have been a very strong patent, but no enforcement.

Patent Trolls by Proxy (1)

TrueSpeed (576528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130667)

So after these Rats cherry pick the Nortel patents they individually wanted they then form a proxy company to deflect any negative press from them when this patent troll starts shaking down companies with the stipulation that they have no obligation to licence their patents for fair and reasonable terms. Unfortunately, everyone is aware of this proxy company and these companies will not be able to wash the stink off them should a high profile battle ensue.

Why bother to mention that petition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130695)

"In a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the Whitehouse to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."

1) Like that would pass.

2) The petition only has 49 signatures on it right now.

Samzenpus probably started the petition...

On The Petition (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130697)

I am not sure how someone could come to the conclusion that forcing a plaintiff to pay treble damages in the event of a loss is a good idea. Patent laws are already anti-consumer/little guy enough and there's a huge number of small-time patent holders who have been screwed out of their inventions by bigger companies. Few sue as it is and even fewer win because of the ridiculous legal fees associated. Add the risk of three-times damages, and none will. This won't hurt the big guys because often enough much more money is at stake than what they ask for in court, either because the patent they hold is valid or they simply need to try to block the other guy long enough to outsell them in product. How about a law instead to stop patent trolls ? Make it so the plaintiff either has to be the original grantee or they have had to legally acquire the patent and it has to be in active use, either in production or in provable preparation for market.

Patent troll == bailiff = useful although unloved (1)

U96 (538500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130735)

I am not a lawyer, and I wouldn't usually defend them, but... [sticks head above parapet]

Humour me an analogy: Nobody likes it when a bailiff comes to your door. But the reality is that if there were no bailiffs to repossess property bought on credit when you didn't pay up, then no-one would loan money. For example, in countries where there is a cultural/religious aversion to repossession of homes, it's almost impossible to get a mortgage, and overall rate of home ownership is lower -- the law of unintended consequences here is that if you as a society refuse to kick people out of their homes, fewer people will actually be able to own their own homes.

I think a patent troll company like this is similar. Nortel engineers worked hard to invent stuff. Shareholders of Nortel invested in the company to pay for that stuff to be invented. The value of these patents as assets which could be sold off is in effect a form of 'embodied energy' created in Nortel. Remove the ability for companies like Rockstar to exist and to seek out license fees from stuff Nortel investors paid Nortel engineers to invent them in the past, and you've retroactively denied those investors from some of the return on their historical investment. The end result moving forward is that people will invest less.

Patents serve a purpose, as does their expiry. I could back a plan to shorten patent lifetimes for some classes of patents, but I believe doing away with the whole system would be counter-productive to innovation.

Re:Patent troll == bailiff = useful although unlov (0)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130953)

So without patents, we wouldn't have fire, swings or the wheel? (To be fair, one of them was patented some years back)

Re:Patent troll == bailiff = useful although unlov (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131097)

"But the reality is that if there were no bailiffs to repossess property bought on credit when you didn't pay up, then no-one would loan money."

So you support that big business should not have ANY risk then? the RISK for loaning money is that you loaned money to someone that cant pay it back, hello that is a risk of business, and problem is the credit industry has the responsibility to VET who they loan to.

If there were no baillifs or if we returned to where I could file for bankruptcy and tell the bank to stuff it in their ass. The banks would lend money smarter.

What I get from your example is that we need to remove all risk for companies, and this is completely and utterly a very dumb thing. Patents should expire quickly so that scumbag companies dont just sit on them.

King of all patent trolls (5, Insightful)

belgianguy (1954708) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130765)

The rotten system just got a tad more rotten. Rockstar is the king of all patent trolls, funded by the big two software IP honchos, known for their shakedown schemes and patenting the trivially obvious. The other partners are opportunists and a few badly ailing companies seeking a hail-mary pass to avoid utter extinction. It got its approval under the guise of playing by "reasonable terms", only to disobey said promise as "not applicable to the new construct" as soon as the deal went through. With a start like that, I don't have much hope left for any ethics to be involved in their way of thinking.

Rockstar has all the latest weaponry of an extremely litigious tech company, wealthy backers, plus the enormous advantage that it can't be countersued. It can start case after case without even batting an eye. The sheer amount of cases it can start can probably put a company out of business even before the first patent in play is reviewed.

If you thought Oracle vs Google was perfidious, wait until Rockstar here takes aim at Android. It's only a matter of time, and to me it seems like Android was the reason this abomination was formed. They've sealed up the LTE patents, so they'll surely squeeze them on that front, while trying keep on adding layer after layer of patent licenses, with the penultimate target of drowning it and scaring the manufacturers away.

Innovation is about to get its teeth kicked in.

Rockstar Consortium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130767)

They will hear from the Rockstar Games soon.

Re:Rockstar Consortium (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130967)

Given the DRM in GTA IV [eurogamer.net] , I think Rockstar Games might actually support this Rockstar. Birds of a money-grubbing* feather flock together.

*I just realized "money-grubbing" sounds a fair bit like "mother-fucking". I guess that explains some things...

Good measure (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130791)

Since that patent troll petition has so few signature, it's probably a good measure on how strong the slashdot population is when it comes to such things..

Re:Good measure (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130973)

It could indeed be our weakness, or past performance [slashdot.org] .

It will go nowhere... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40131079)

The White House will not TAX Intellectual Property, there is no way in hell they will tip the scales in the patent lawsuit nuttyness.

Their backers are the IP holders. All politicians care more about the money than the little guy.

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