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Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the pay-up-sucker dept.

Patents 167

First time accepted submitter TrueSatan writes "With support from the EFF's Defend Freedom Project two Republican congressmen seek to introduce a bill called the 'Shield Act' which, if passed, would enable judges to award costs to defendants if they are found to be the victims of frivolous patent litigation. From the article: 'A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives attempts to deter frivolous patent litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants' legal costs. Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.'"

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167 comments

Does this include Microsoft? (0, Troll)

drinkydoh (2658743) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854401)

Microsoft has mostly used their patents defensively so I don't think they've included in this, nor Apple. Google, on the other hand, will be on hot waters especially with the recent purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854467)

Microsoft has mostly used their patents defensively so I don't think they've included in this

True but their proxy companies would probably go down faster with this bill.

, nor Apple.

What the fuck are you smoking? Did you miss the whole Samsung shitfest?

Google, on the other hand, will be on hot waters especially with the recent purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Er, this isn't a retroactive bill ... not to mention legal costs (while big numbers to us) don't mean a whole lot to a company like Google. $40 million in lawyer fees? Drop in the bucket.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (5, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854591)

Google, on the other hand, will be on hot waters especially with the recent purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Er, this isn't a retroactive bill ... not to mention legal costs (while big numbers to us) don't mean a whole lot to a company like Google. $40 million in lawyer fees? Drop in the bucket.

Google posted around $2.7 billion in profits for Q4 of 2011, so let's figure they make around $10 billion in profits per year.
$40 million out of $10 billion in profit is like Joe Average taking home $50,000/yr and spending $200 on lawyer fees. (An imperfect analogy, but it shows how little Google's profit margin is hurt by lawyer fees.)

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (5, Funny)

evilRhino (638506) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854729)

It's fallacious to argue that money has similar opportunity costs in scale. $40 million could bribe a congressman to the tune of billions, whereas there is almost no legal opportunity to increase $200 to that degree.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854831)

You're not very good at this whole math thing, are you? Allow me, one who farts out of his own asshole, to correct you...

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854927)

You people think this is funny? This is EXACTLY how our political system works. It's perfectly legal for corporations to bribe our lawmakers to make decisions favorable to them, it's just called lobbying. Let Joe Shmoe try giving $200.00 to influence his representatives decision and see where he ends up.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (5, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855245)

If it is cleverly spent, it could work.

However, let's not forget the scale. If $40 million buys billions (let's say 2 billion), then $200 buys $10,000. That could be a simple matter of taking the mayor for a good meal and discussing a zoning issue, or a vending permit.

Federal preemption (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855813)

That could be a simple matter of taking the mayor for a good meal and discussing a zoning issue, or a vending permit.

Which isn't much help when so many of the issues that YRO geeks care about (those arising from copyright and patent) are exclusively federal. Or what am I missing?

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854993)

What the fuck are you smoking? Did you miss the whole Samsung shitfest?

I think you've been hooked by the Microsoft shill/fanboi who's been posting recently.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40856109)

The corps aren't the issue with this bill. The trial lawyer association will oppose this, and TLA runs much of the democrat party. It will die a quiet death in the senate.

Re:Does this include Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855369)

Yeeeeeeeah, because poor, poor Apple had to defend themselves from those big mean companies that wanted to use THEIR simple geometric shapes that they invented. I remember growing up in my parents' icosahedral house, wishing, nay, PRAYING that someday, some wonderful, glorious company would invent a shape that was simple, four-sided, and comprised of two pairs of edges wherein each pair had the same length, as that would simplify our maintenance costs significantly.

And because you shills still don't get it, we ARE fully aware that Motorola Mobility isn't owned by Google yet, nor were the lawsuits they filed before that announcement Google's lawsuits. So give it up already, we're not falling for it.

When will the fix the real problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854405)

More laws to address the problem, but not the one we need. Repeal the ability to patent software at least.

Re:When will the fix the real problem? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855283)

Oh shut the hell up, you're just looking for an excuse to steal software. At least some pirates are willing to ADMIT they're pirates, instead of coloring themselves with fancy names like "software freedom activist".

Rep. != Republican (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854409)

" two Republican congressmen seek to introduce a bill"
"Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT),"

So the parties are officially merged now?

Re:Rep. != Republican (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854437)

So what does Rep. mean, then, if not Republican?

Re:Rep. != Republican (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854495)

representative

Re:Rep. != Republican (-1, Troll)

OCedHrt (1001533) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854809)

He's talking about the mention of "two Republican congressmen." It's not that they're merged, just that Republicans are given credit for anything good that happens.

Re:Rep. != Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854957)

it's not Republican methods, so...

Re:Rep. != Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855381)

Thanks. How does this differ from Congressman?

Re:Rep. != Republican (5, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855535)

A representative is a type of congressman; a congressman can be either a representative (i.e., a congressman sitting in the House of Representatives) or a senator (a congressman who sits in the Senate).

Re:Rep. != Republican (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855693)

Congressman isn't the term at issue here. The acronyms after the names, (D-OR) and (R-UT), tell you the party (D=Democrat, R=Republican) and the state each represents (OR=Oregon, UT=Utah). So what you have from the summary is not two Republicans. The people introducing the bill are the Democrat representative from Oregon and the Republican representative from Utah. Or, in other words, both parties working together, making it the Apocalypse.

Re:Rep. != Republican (3, Funny)

f3rret (1776822) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854667)

Reptile obviously, turns out David Icke was right after all, didn't you see the article on slashdot a few days ago?

You might have missed it though, the reptiles didn't let it stay up for long.

Re:Rep. != Republican (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854471)

Shhhhh... Don't tell anyone. We are hoping that nobody notices.

Re:Rep. != Republican (5, Funny)

Therad (2493316) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854565)

Don't worry citizen, the Ministry of Truth will soon fix this incorrect article..

Re:Rep. != Republican (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854799)

Don't worry citizen, the Ministry of Truth will soon fix this correct article..

Re:Rep. != Republican (4, Funny)

228e2 (934443) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854911)

Don't worry citizen, the Ministry of Love will soon fix this incorrect citizen..

Re:Rep. != Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854723)

Republicrats

parties now "officially" merged? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855487)

So the parties are officially merged now?

"Now"? They did that long ago, agreeing to jointly pin the blame on "the other guys", with the common goal of keeping their joint dominance of government/self-interests.

Re:Rep. != Republican (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855861)

Introduced by a Democrat and co-sponsored by a Republican is a good thing. It might have a better chance of getting through committees and the Senate, even though this looks a lot like election year posturing.

Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854423)

Please FIX the system don't PATCH it!

The patent system is so badly broken that it kills innovation for generations..
Patent trolls are just an sideffect, and they won't stop just of risk of paying some money in 1 case out of 10...

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (4, Insightful)

Irishman (9604) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854823)

I definitely agree with this comment but I think that the bill being proposed is something that should be expanded far beyond patents. Allowing judges to force the plaintiffs to pay for an unsuccessful suit against the defendants in all cases would help limit spurious legal cases. If groups like RIAA had to pay when they lost the case against someone, it would go a long way to reduce these legal manoeuvres against people who cannot afford it.

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855147)

NA they will just form companies for the purpose of bringing the suit assign the rights to the company in a very specific way and have no downside. Forming a corp only cost a few hundred bucks after all.

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (2)

Mikkeles (698461) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855521)

Since that company now has the rights, they could be judicially re-assigned to the defendant in lieu of payment on a failed suit.

Shell companies. (3, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855653)

A truly *good* shell company will only have the rights to ONE patent, and only enough money assigned to it to feed the lawyers for the patent suit itself.

There's deeper rules that try to prevent this sort of stuff, but it's complicated to work through. If I understand it right today, in many ways companies that are wholly(or mostly wholly) owned by another company are considered part of that company.

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854985)

I agree, however it doesn't go far enough.

Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.'

Why limit it? Isn't a patent troll a patent troll?

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (1)

Kelbear (870538) | about a year and a half ago | (#40856157)

It's easier to push a narrow bill through than a broad bill.

For example, abolishing patents will piss off just about everybody and their brother and the bill becomes a nonstarter.

Just pushing a bill that specifically pisses off patent trolls means you only need to fight patent trolls, a much much smaller subset of patent owners with a far less defensible position. Perhaps the bill goes through, and makes things better. Then people may be more receptive to expanding the existing bill based on past experience.

While there are occasions where you need a strong start to have any shot at success, this is a case where you need to try to walk before you try to run.

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855297)

Please FIX the system don't PATCH it!

"...a system based on corrupt practice cannot be saved merely by tinkering with it."

Re:Please FIX the system dont PATCH it (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855543)

Yes, clearly innovation has been completely killed. There are no new products being brought to market. There are no improvements to existing products. We still use computers exactly as we did in the 60s, with only the very largest of companies being able to afford them. Nobody has bought a cell phone in the last 20 years except to replace a broken one, because there has been no innovation making people want to get a new one (that is why we all still carry around 2 pound voice-only behemoths). You can still look at a car repair book from the 50s and perfectly understand what every component in your car is and does. The most popular way to communicate with people is still writing and mailing letters (or if you're really hi-tech, sending 'email'). The only way to buy something is by going to the store or ordering from the Sears Catalog by mail. The only way to listen to music is to wind up the Victrola or wait for the tubes to warm up on the old Atworth-Kent wireless. The most effective treatment for most illnesses is still leeches. And of course manufacturing anything still takes an army of labor.

Damn patents have completely killed innovation.

In the cloud (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855869)

We still use computers exactly as we did in the 60s, with only the very largest of companies being able to afford them.

I see the sarcasm in your post, but unfortunately, the "in the cloud" and "post-PC" fads appear headed that way.

Heh, the bill isn't bad (5, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854425)

6 ‘‘ 285A. Recovery of litigation costs for computer
7 hardware and software patent
8 ‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding section 285, in
9 an action disputing the validity or alleging the infringe-
10 ment of a computer hardware or software patent, upon
11 making a determination that the party alleging the in-
12 fringement of the patent did not have a reasonable likeli-
13 hood of succeeding,
the court may award the recovery of
14 full costs to the prevailing party, including reasonable at-
15 torney’s fees, other than the United States.

The language allows the judge presiding over the case to effectively determine whether the case was a frivolous case, meaning there's a decent chance that this won't deter legitimate patent suits. That said, only time will tell.

Re:Heh, the bill isn't bad (2)

Compulawyer (318018) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854515)

The cases interpreting Section 285 already do this. This legislation is unnecessary.

Re:Heh, the bill isn't bad (2)

gcnaddict (841664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854555)

The legislation appears intended to cause potential plaintiffs to reconsider, with the secondary benefit of codifying an already-implemented tactic.

I agree with you in that the legislation should be unnecessary, but perhaps it's needed as a deterrent.

Re:Heh, the bill isn't bad (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855019)

The reason it's unnecessary is that the law already allows the judge to order the plaintiff to pay the defendant's costs and attorney fees if he determines that the lawsuit was frivolous. This law, like many others, is a purely political move with no purpose but to create redundant legislation. The problem is that redundancy in the law can actually create ambiguity in its meaning. Neither patent trolls nor their victims will actually be affected by this one, except that the lawyers on both sides will get to play with the law's meaning more and, of course, bill for it.

"Lawsuit frivolous" != "Unlikely to succeed" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855789)

Those are two different things. Likelihood of success in court is overwhelmingly a function of how much you spend on lawyers versus the other guy.

What this new legislation does is to increase the power of those with money, since even if their suit is frivolous, they cannot be judged to be "unlikely to succeed" versus a poor defendant.

The law was much more fair when "frivolous" was the only relevant metric, without examining likelihood of success. However, since a judge cannot not declare a suit "frivolous" when a plaintiff wins it, the earlier state of the law was broken anyway.

In other words, the whole thing is screwed up.

SHIELD? (5, Funny)

KazW (1136177) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854457)

I think we can make a good guess about which movies these congressmen may have watched recently...

Garunteed Backfire (4, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854463)

Now instead of no-name or proxy companies holding giants hostage, the giants themselves will become the hostage takers, violating patents left and right, and daring any little guy patent holders to try, just try, to take em to court. Then when the giant outspends I mean wins the court case, the lil guy is now really fookered cause he had to the giant's lawyer bill for its high profile team of super expensive attorneys.....

Result: no lil guy will ever take on a giant that violates his patents, and when he contacts the company for any kind of settlement or sale offer, they'll just brush him off.

Ya this is a great idea.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854523)

Hey, lil guys can be patent trolls too. As someone else pointed out, this is only upon the determination by the judge that the case is frivolous. So as long as you have a reasonable claim you shouldn't be "fookered" (whatever the hell that means) at the end of the trial even though you still lose.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854585)

Have you *followed* any of the more fascinating patent cases? Take a good look at the SCO versus everybody lawsuits. The ability of a judge to bend over backwards to favor their friends in court is *stunning*.

The leverage this provides for large companies against small patent holders is amazing.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854689)

If you have allegations about judges being corrupt, then you should save them for a proper forum. The role of US politics in society has already deteriorated to third-world level, I would prefer if the role of the legal system in society didn't do that as well.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (2)

Necroloth (1512791) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854533)

little guys don't tend to go for the big corps unless they know they have a solid foundation... why on earth would you otherwise? I think this has been brought to life with the Apple/Samsung debacle.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (4, Insightful)

dokc (1562391) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854573)

Now instead of no-name or proxy companies holding giants hostage, the giants themselves will become the hostage takers, violating patents left and right, and daring any little guy patent holders to try, just try, to take em to court. Then when the giant outspends I mean wins the court case, the lil guy is now really fookered cause he had to the giant's lawyer bill for its high profile team of super expensive attorneys.....

Result: no lil guy will ever take on a giant that violates his patents, and when he contacts the company for any kind of settlement or sale offer, they'll just brush him off.

Ya this is a great idea.

I don't see any difference to current situation.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854717)

lol you actually think the little guy has that much of a chance nowadays?

You have one patent, they have 20,000. What are the odds that you can implement your stuff without infringing on their stuff?

Re:Garunteed Backfire (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854761)

The bill gives the judge discretion to determine if it was a frivolous lawsuit, so if judges use that discretion properly (admittedly, subject to question), people who sue and lose won't be assessed the costs if the suit was at least a reasonable one.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855751)

I'm sure that discretion won't give any legitimate patent holders pause.

Re:Garunteed Backfire (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854907)

Well, if they get a judge to agree that the little guys suit was frivolous, yeah. This legislation doesn't mandate loser pays, it gives judges the option to enforce loser pays if they determine that the plaintiff knew the suit was likely to lose when they brought it.

And if you reply by saying that the big corp will just buy out the judge too - well, there's your problem. No matter what legislation is passed, you can't have justice if the officers of the court are corrupt. That's not a problem with this legislation, it's a problem with the legal system as a whole.

Hmmm (4, Interesting)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854487)

Much as I'd like to believe that this is the result of politicians actually having a good idea, I suspect it's nothing but a negotiation ploy because they want bigger payments from corporations who draw a large revenue stream from the questionable use of patents.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854577)

Much as I'd like to believe that this is the result of politicians actually having a good idea, I suspect it's nothing but a negotiation ploy because they want bigger payments from corporations who draw a large revenue stream from the questionable use of patents.

And that in a nutshell is why more government never really solves anything - it just creates another reason for special interests to ply elected officials with bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign contributions.

Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (5, Informative)

Compulawyer (318018) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854503)

Section 285 of the Patent Act of 1952 (35 U.S.C. 285) already permits judges to declare patent cases to be "exceptional" and award appropriate relief. From the defendant's perspective, a case can be declared exceptional if the plaintiff cannot show that at least one claim of the patent in suit covers the device or process accused of infringing the patent. This section is regularly used by defendants to obtain attorneys fees and costs.

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 1927 of Title 28 of the U.S. Code also provides bases for the same relief.

The problem with patent trolls is not the inability of defendants to get costs. It is that trolls often wage licensing campaigns by bringing highly questionable claims but set the costs of licenses below the cost to defend an action in court. Companies typically choose to go the economical route and take a license.

Re:Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855123)

The problem with patent trolls is not the inability of defendants to get costs. It is that trolls often wage licensing campaigns by bringing highly questionable claims but set the costs of licenses below the cost to defend an action in court. Companies typically choose to go the economical route and take a license.

If you can be awarded costs that lowers the expected cost of taking it to court, and hence lowers the cost of the licenses offered. Surely that's a good thing?

If the claims really are highly questionable and there's a good chance you'll get costs awarded the cost of defending approaches zero (as the probability of being awarded costs increases) after all.

that'll be hard to get around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854545)

Form a shell company for each litigation you're pursuing. If you win, reap the profits. If you lose, the shell company goes bankrupt and you're not out anything.

Limited to patents related to computer H/W & S (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854561)

Um, why? Seriously, why on earth would you possibly think that there would be any benefit in restricting this law suit to just one industry when it clearly applies in principle to *every* industry that involves patents, even if not all of them are quite so litigious right now? OK, this law was probably paid for by IT industry lobbyists, but are things really that screwed up in US law making that if you don't fund the congress critters writing the legislation then you don't get covered and have to fund your own version of esentially the same legalese later on?

common sense anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854575)

Wow. What a novel idea -- making litigating douche-bags that lose their sleazy douche-bag games pay for the costs of the poor shmuck that went broke trying to defend himself against said douche-bags.

That almost sounds like common sense.

SHIELD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854595)

"It's time victims of patent trolling had an Avenger." -- Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes spokesman Nick Fury. (Oh, I see they've already worked on the name.)

Excellent piece -- needs one more part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854597)

Needs to expand to copyright as well.. making it absolutely clear that trolls will be on the hook if they lose.

Do it for all civil cases that are about money (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854615)

A wants X amount of money from B. A loses the case, but B is still bankrupt from the costs of the case.

I may be mistaken, but I think that in the Netherlands, if A loses, they always pay the entire costs of B too. That's the risk of suing someone for financial gain.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (2)

Bombur (544425) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854709)

Well, I do not know about the Netherlands, but in Germany the losing party always pays the winners fees.. Both in civil and in criminal cases.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854813)

Ah, I see what you misunderstood. The 1st line in my post was about the current American situation, where you can win a case, but still go bankrupt.

Then in the 2nd line I explained how it's done in the Netherlands, which apparently is similar to the German situation.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (1)

Bombur (544425) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855001)

Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I assumed that you were not sure about the situation in the Netherlands, so I wanted to give some backup.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855033)

"where you can win a case, but still go bankrupt."

That's pretty stupid. The only reason to go bankrupt is that you choose to go bankrupt.

Contrary to popular belief (amongst the noobs) companies don't sue other companies to bankrupt them. They sue other companies to make money. You don't make money if the other side has no money to pay you. As such, the plaintiff will almost always take a lesser amount to settle than to go all the way to the end of the trial, win, and get nothing. On the flip side, if you defend all the way to the end, win, but become bankrupt. That is because of you own stupidity. You could have settled early on and not been bankrupted.

This is the old "win the battle but lose the war" type scenario. If you have to lose a battle to win the war, then you do so.

Unwilling to license (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855957)

You don't make money if the other side has no money to pay you.

Yes you do. You make money when customers have to start buying your products because the other side's products are no longer available. Or do you really think Apple is willing to license key iOS-related patents to Samsung and the like on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms?

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855839)

How does that work when the person wronged is an individual of midling means(IE poor) and the one who did wrong is a huge company? Can the huge company bury the small guy in legal fees/bills?

There needs to be a balance, and you can't always assume that the losing party was in the wrong, or at least to the extent that it shouldn't have been a court trial.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#40856125)

It is not that easy. It's not "loser pays" in civil cases in Germany, because there you don't have losers. It's more like this, that the plaintiff in his suit defines the "Streitwert" (lawsuit value), which determines for instance the salaries for the lawyers and thus also the costs of the whole case. When in the judgement the damages get awarded, they are compared with the initial Streitwert, and you have more or less to pay the difference between the damages you get awarded and the initial valuation of the case. Lets say you sue for € 1 mio, and in the end you get awarded € 100,000, you have to pay 90% of the cost incurred by the defendent, which in turn has to pay 10% of your costs.

This is not exactly how it works, but it gives a general idea how the payments are determined. And it makes it dangerous to sue for astronomically high sums of money, because it could bankrupt you if you lose. The court even might require you to post a bail to make sure you can pay for your suit.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855025)

That is not a good system. The wealthier party can always use the threat of hiring really expensive lawyers as a deterrent and the deterrent works even of you have a legitimate case. Also in some cases both parties are partially right. You shouldn't be penalized for having a court sort out a judgment.

Re:Do it for all civil cases that are about money (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855851)

Imagine this scenario if you will: B damaged A for $X, but B has a much more expensive and better legal team than A, so A loses. A is now forced to pay for B's lawyers, and is now bankrupt.

That's why in the US, it's the judge that gets to decide whether a case is frivolous and award attorney's fees accordingly.

Oh noes! (4, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854703)

Apple might have to go back to innovating instead of what they've been doing the last 18 months. (Retina display being the last really clever thing I'd credit to Apple)
Galaxy S3 folks, Apple are shitting themselves and rightfully so, S2 was good, S3 is great, genuinely good hardware - some great software too.

Disclaimer: I've owned an iphone 3/3gs/4 and Galaxy S2 and S3.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854875)

Apple might have to go back to innovating instead of what they've been doing the last 18 months. (Retina display being the last really clever thing I'd credit to Apple)

I thought "retina display" was just Apple speak for 'higher resolution than it used to be'? Or did I miss something about it that was actually innovative?

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855903)

Retina display being the last really clever thing I'd credit to Apple

I thought "retina display" was just Apple speak for 'higher resolution than it used to be'? Or did I miss something about it that was actually innovative?

Anyone can resell high resolution monitors; it's just a question of how much demand there is. It took Apple ingenuity to change the words people use to refer to it, and make it seem cool. Your daughter doesn't want or care about "high res" displays, but otoh, anything that isn't a retina display, is so 2009, so daddy, can I please have the new iPhone?

"Clever" legitimately and sincerely describes what Apple did. No one cared much about this stuff on handhelds before. Customers had no reasons to upgrade their equipment. Now they're putting more money into Apple's coffers. Apple's top men did their job.

Re:Oh noes! (3, Interesting)

chenjeru (916013) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854883)

You do know that the retina display in the iPhone is designed an manufactured by Samsung, right? The only "innovative" thing Apple did was to lock the supply chain by buying every single one of them, making them unavailable for anyone else until manufacturing capacity ramped up.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855049)

They built the operating system that scales to use it. It's one thing to throw hardware out there, but it has to be incorporated into the system to be of any use.

Re:Oh noes! (2)

dzym (544085) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855105)

Hard-coding a 4x scaler into an operating system is not particularly innovative.

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855453)

Hard-coding a 4x scaler into an operating system is not particularly innovative.

Then why didn't you do it?

Oh - and it's a 2x scale...not 4x

Re:Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40855443)

"Clever"? So, "simply higher resolution than the last thing" counts as clever now?

"You know how we've got these 640x480 displays now, which were a clever improvement over the 320x240 displays we used to have? Well, what if... what if we made a 1024x768 display?" "HOLY SHITTING DICKNIPPLES HOW THE HELL DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT ZOMG SO CLEVER"

Re:Oh noes! (2)

metrometro (1092237) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855761)

Only Apple could get away with calling the decades-old progression towards more pixels per inch as "innovation" by giving it a fucking brand name. That fact that the displays are made by Samsung is just icing.

Apple doesn't innovate. They tinker with existing forms and make them more pleasing. It's not a bad thing, it's incredibly profitable, but don't pretend that Apple is actually trying stuff that might not work. Apple's patent stuff campaign, you will note, is not aimed at innovators, but at companies that execute well at scale. In other words, companies like themselves.

The uncritical consumer joy from an incremental change ("Retina!") that adds exactly zero functionality -- that's an innovation. Not one I particularly want to buy, though.

Might not help (5, Informative)

jeti (105266) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854917)

Keep in mind that IP Ventures is said to use between 1600 and 1800 proxy companies for suing. Those companies are formally independent of IP Ventures, but the filings indicate that IP Ventures has a financial interest in the outcome (they get their share). If the legislation is not carefully crafted, the proxy companies can just go bankrupt and sell the patent(s) back to IP Ventures.

Source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack/ [thisamericanlife.org]

Re:Might not help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40856025)

The judge can award the ip license thaat is owned by the shell company used as the basis of the lawsuit or "pierce the corporate veil" and hit the troll directly.

not enough (4, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854933)

If the claims are truly frivolous the plaintiff should have to pay whatever they asked for in damages to compensate their intended victim for damage to their reputation. And it shouldn't just apply to trolls. The same should go for big sue-happy companies.

Wait. Stop. (insert popcorn-eating .gif here) (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#40854965)

Be careful what you wish for, people!

The bigger patent trolls have plenty of money.

The small guy with a legitimate beef does not.

Here's what you do -- imagine you're a patent troll with $30 billion at your disposal. Now pay your multiple genius lawyers to figure out ways around it.

Now revise the law according to that before even bothering to pass it.

What is good for the goose ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40854967)

is good for the gander.

Should a defendant have to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees if the defendant loses? If the defendant loses, that means the defendant was in he wrong, didn't accept responsibility for being in the wrong but instead chose to fight. Under those circumstances, shouldn't the plaintiff be entitled to their attorney fees as well?

The asymetric awarding of attorney fees is not consistent with the notion of equal justice. Hence, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Re:What is good for the goose ... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855219)

Should a defendant have to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees if the defendant loses?

Yes, under current law that's pretty much what happens.

Ahem (3, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855301)

...did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding, the court may award the recovery of full costs to the prevailing party, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than the United States...

All this bill does is give judges the ability to required the loser to pay up. The legal definition and use of the word MAY is very important. MAY gives the judge discretion, SHALL does not. IANALBMWIAPL and she says this effectively does nothing other then give a judge the same ability to require one side to pay up without having to dismiss the case with prejudice. Nothing more then giving the judge more tools to punish trolls.

Numbered companies (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855927)

All that will do is cause the patent trolls to create a number company with no assets for each lawsuit. So when costs are awarded, they will be bust and the victim will still be burdened with all the costs.

yeah but... (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#40855955)

If you have a patent and you're suing for patent infringement... how the hell did they get their patent in the first place?

My first thought reading the headline (0)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#40856115)

Bill wants to force patent trolls to pay defendant's legal bills? I know he isn't personally running Microsoft anymore, but doesn't he still have an interest in the company? And isn't Microsoft kind of one of the -biggest- patent trolls?
Wait, not that Bill.

Bill Posters is innocent!

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