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Rackspace Goes On Rampage Against Patent Trolls

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the there-should-be-blood dept.

Patents 132

girlmad writes "Rackspace has come out fighting against one of the U.S.'s most notorious patent trolls, Parallel Iron. The cloud services firm said it's totally fed up with trolls of all kinds, which have caused a 500 percent rise in its legal bills. Rackspace was last week named among 12 firms accused of infringing Parallel Iron's Hadoop Distributed File System patents. Rackspace is now counter-suing the troll, as the firm said it has a deal in place with Parallel Iron after signing a previous patent settlement with them."

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The only ones who win are the lawyers. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382219)

The laws must be changed.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (5, Insightful)

crashumbc (1221174) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382281)

"The only ones who win are the lawyers."

-The laws must be changed.

Which is exactly why the laws won't be changed.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382373)

Which is exactly how the laws got written in the first place.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382385)

That used to be the case, but you guys are forgetting this is the 21st century.
Now lobbyists make the laws, and lobbyists are paid for by the winning side.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382519)

That used to be the case, but you guys are forgetting this is the 21st century. Now lobbyists make the laws, and lobbyists are paid for by the winning side.

... which will not be the niggers.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382573)

The winning side becomes the losing side in a flash. I'll tell you right now which side I want to be on when the torches and pitchforks get going, and it's not the "winning" side. Wealth too is transitory. It's often gone within two generations, and usually less.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382601)

Exactly how many non-geeks are actually knowledgeable about patent trolls? Two? Three?

Talk to most random people about patents, and they think: "lotto" -- invent something cool and retire. Try to explain what is wrong with the system and their eyes glaze over. The notion that patent reform will come from the masses and that they will demand change is .... wishful thinking? ludicrous? Crazy? Pick any word that's the antonym of "possible."

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382677)

And of most of the 'geeks' around who wouldnt be first to line up and patent something if they actually came up with something cool? Ah...

If you can up with say a revolutionary image creation system or compression system. You would patent the hell out of it.

They only ones screaming for reform are those being screwed over by the existing system. Hell even MS has been screwed over yet their push for reform is basically crickets in the room.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382793)

"who wouldnt be first to line up and patent something if they actually came up with something cool?"

I presume that you're familiar with the name "Linus Torvalds"? Copyleft authors are legion and myriad. It's not unusual to see a license that says something to the effect, "Hey, enjoy my cool stuff, for free! If you really like it, visit my homepage to leave compliments or to make a donation!"

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383303)

Ah, Linus: "If somebody sues you, you change the algorithm or you just hire a hit-man to whack the stupid git."

So it is not always the lawyers who win. Sometimes it is the hit-men.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (3, Funny)

ExploHD (888637) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383499)

So it is not always the lawyers who win. Sometimes it is the hit-men.

What is the difference?

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43384181)

No protection there dude. You can still get sued.

If you are enough of an interesting target, they can come after you. If there is money to be made (e.g., your project attracted too many donations), they can always claim that you infringed on their patent when you put your code in the public domain. And they can sure come after you and get their pound of flash.

You will only be safe if you make very little money off your project. In this case, they will not consider you an interesting enough target because they won't be able to profit much off of you.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383025)

Many of us are employed as software developers. We invent something comparable to stupid software patents like "slide to unlock" in every project and we'd rather keep that level of grunt work non-patentable like it is supposed to be.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383277)

Suppose there were a law by which the government randomly selects a letter out of a hat, and everyone whose first name has that initial letter gets 100k to their bank account, paid for by the taxes of everyone else. Suppose you think that's a really stupid law and that your letter gets picked the first year. It is perfectly consistent for you to accept the money while still opposing the law. It is even consistent to say "I oppose this law because of people like me who accept the money". The most notorious patent troll can believe that the law should not make his activities possible while still carrying on with patent trolling. There is no contradiction between believing "it should not be possible to do X" and "people should refuse to benefit from X now that X is possible." Don't blame the patent trolls, blame the laws that make patent trolls an inevitable outcome.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384355)

"Don't blame the patent trolls, blame the laws that make patent trolls an inevitable outcome."

Bullshit, thats a cop-out. Nobody stuck a gun to their heads and *made* them act like assholes. Not patent trolls, nor anyone else in business. Its just like in poliitics, nobody has the balls or the maturity to be honest and own up to their own actions.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383559)

And of most of the 'geeks' around who wouldnt be first to line up and patent something if they actually came up with something cool? Ah...

If you can up with say a revolutionary image creation system or compression system. You would patent the hell out of it.

They only ones screaming for reform are those being screwed over by the existing system. Hell even MS has been screwed over yet their push for reform is basically crickets in the room.

I wouldn't. I came up with a synthesis for a new compound. It would have been a piece of cake to patent because just a few months earlier another research group used a much more complicated synthesis for a compound to do the same thing; therefore, my approach was not obvious to someone familiar with the field.

I didn't patent it because it was supported by public grants and I felt that meant the work should be freely available.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43384047)

If true, you should have patented it and then made if available on a perpetual royal-free unconditional basis. Otherwise someone else could patent it and abuse that patent.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (2)

cduffy (652) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384369)

If true, you should have patented it and then made if available on a perpetual royal-free unconditional basis. Otherwise someone else could patent it and abuse that patent.

First, getting that patent through the system is a lot of expense.

Second, publishing prevents someone else from patenting a later invention of same.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (2)

nametaken (610866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383037)

You might be right. I hope not though.

I mean, I couldn't explain net neutrality to my parents or friends and have them get it, but I could say, "do you want Comcast charging you $20 a month just to use the Netflix you already pay for over the internet connection you already pay for?" They sure as hell understand that argument. And the blackouts did get peoples' attention.

In this case, much as it was with net neutrality, businesses look at patent trolls as a miserable pain in the ass, keeping everyone from doing what they do. Even many of the companies with huge patent portfolios acquire them as defensive holdings rather than weapons of mass litigation. They have them because it's easier to buy paper on the cheap, rather than fight every single I.P. chop shop on earth.

I'm not trying to get all political with "markets cure all", but do witness this exact story. Many businesses that are trying to do their thing hate this shit too, just like small ones. That could help.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43384453)

While correct, I'll point you to what Socrates, Aristotle, and many others have stated. The first responsibility of an educated person is to educate others. That does not mean you have to present enough detail to make their eyes glaze over, but rather convince them that you are correct in stating that the laws are broken.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382927)

Almost/ The lobbyist are paid by those who BECOME the winning side.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43384207)

Well... you would think the market would play a role here, no?

If the patent laws are so screwed up here in the USA, why don't we see companies fleeing the US and migrating to better jurisdictions? When it comes to software patents, most of these companies could really operate from anywhere in the world. Why don't we see these companies fleeing the US? Why don't we see the rate of start-ups going down here and increasing in other jurisdictions? You have an idea for a company? Why open it here?

It seems to me as though, despite the mess our laws are, they might still be the best system out there.

Re: The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43385109)

No, in order to sell in the US you have to respect the patent laws. So it's adhere to the laws or not sell to the US...

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382971)

If you want change, stop paying taxes until 100% of them are used _for_the_people_. Giving money to the system only rewards it for being what it is today.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382297)

Any lawsuit that seeks to waste the courts time with frivolous lawsuits will result in the company being fined a minimum of 15% of previous years profits or up to 10 times the amount sought in the original lawsuit whichever is greater. Under certain conditions the legal time may also be subject to review by the state bar. Should the result of a frivolous lawsuit result in the defendant company incurring substantial losses, of at least a 50% decline or even bankruptcy, additional fines and penalties may be levied. If the court suspects a shell company has been setup to hide the identity of other companies then the court may order the discovery of those companies. Any attempt to further waste the courts time or attempt to continue hiding the parent companies they shall be subject to additional fines and possible jail time.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (5, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382355)

Fines and jail time won't work. Asset forfeiture on the other hand could put a dent in this business. Just apply the RICO statutes. After all, it is racketeering.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382803)

Is a fine not a forfeiture of assets? I don't mean to be - uhhh - pedantic is the right term? But, the idea of a fine is to discourage certain conduct. I think that what you are really suggesting is, fines are levied against trolls far to infrequently, and the fines are much to small.

Maybe a single fine shouldn't be ruinous to any person or to any company - but trolls should be racking up these penalties every time they go into court. Cumulatively, these fines should be ruinous.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383579)

...fines are levied against trolls far too infrequently,...

"to" is the opposite of "from". "too" means excessively, or an extreme degree.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383785)

Their main assets are patents. Make them forfeit money AND their patents.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383339)

... apply the RICO statutes ...

Racketeering is a crime against society/government. It's a crime when the government says it is. Despite the number of prosecutors wanting to make their name, fighting someone with 2 lawyers is a nasty game. It's easier for bureaucrats to bully and rob middle-class individuals.

... it is racketeering ...

Irrelevant. A court is first and foremost, a place everyone (with money to pay a lawyer) can state their grievance. Civil court, most of the time, does not exist to punish the loser. (This is an American invention.) Even if punishment is a part of the judgement, the cost of attending court and the weakness of the punishment do not concern the judge.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383777)

That would hardly be a problem for patent trolls. They'd form a new corporation for each case they intend to bring and sell the patent to that company.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

Holi (250190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384485)

Then an obvious solution is, if you fail when you attack someone for a patent violation, you lose the patent. That would stop trolling instantly.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382427)

People with money will always vote laws for them.

Re:The only ones who win are the lawyers. (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383207)

It turns out we need only one law, and it's really really simple. Fifteen words will do.

Getting "tough"? (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382225)

Rackspace is now counter-suing the troll, as the firm said it has a deal in place with Parallel Iron after signing a previous patent settlement with them.

So what they are REALLY saying is...

Honey, we left the cash on the dresser, and now you want more?

Re:Getting "tough"? (2)

vencs (1937504) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382235)

And what about the good ol' "Don't feed the troll"?

Re:Getting "tough"? (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382267)

If you don't feed the troll, an even bigger troll comes after you (the government).

Re:Getting "tough"? (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382339)

Actually, this is just a really really horrible summary.

What really happened: IP Nav had approached Rackspace, claiming that Rackspace was infringing some patents of an unnamed client of theirs. IP Nav told Rackspace that they would disclose neither the identity of their client nor the patents in question unless Rackspace signed an agreement not to sue without giving 30 days written notice that their side was terminating licensing negotiations. As it turns out, the agreement went both ways, with IP Nav agreeing to the same 30 day written notice provision. (Peculiarities of patent law are such that if a patentee approaches you about your potential infringement, you can sue them for a declaratory judgment of noninfringement in a federal district court of your choosing; IP Nav was trying to avoid this so they could choose the venue.)

Rackspace agreed to those terms, and found out the patents in question as well as the identity of the patent holder: Parallel Iron.

After some time had passed, licensing talks weren't really going anywhere, so IP Nav/Parallel Iron filed suit against Rackspace and others in federal district court in Delaware.... without providing 30 days written notice to Rackspace. So Rackspace - indicating that since IP Nav/Parallel Iron breached the contract not to sue, Rackspace was no longer bound by the agreement - filed suit in Texas (where Rackspace is HQed) for a declaratory judgment of noninfringement as well as damages for the breach of contract.

Ars has more details, including a link to Rackspace's complaint. [arstechnica.com]

Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind it? (5, Interesting)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382467)

Another war against Linux? Do I detect a whiff of Microsoft's scent in the air surrounding this?
:>(
Thanks for the link, and that page has even more informative links. It looks like Rackspace won a dismissal against Uniloc for a patent troll argument [arstechnica.com] asserting patents on simple mathematical operations: rounding a floating point number up or down before performing a mathematical operation on it, rather than performing the math operation and then performing the rounding afterwards. The judge's dismissed Uniloc's suit stating that "simple mathematical operations are not patentable". [slashdot.org]
.
That patent was PTO#5,892,697 [uspto.gov] and only the first claim was asserted for that lawsuit.
.
Interestingly, the way the lawsuit was filed shows that Rackspace was being sued for deploying Linux servers, and the servers were claimed to be infringing # 5,892,697 because they ran Linux. Doesn't this look like another wave of concerted lawsuits and patent trolling against Linux? I wonder who the concert-master is in this case, waving the baton and funding this crazy patent assertion of rounding numbers before an op being performed rather than after the op is performed? Is there a whiff of Microsoft in the air?

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (-1, Troll)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382549)

There other interesting tidbits revealed in this case. It looks like there are groups of people that actively use open source software to exploit ideas whithin them for their gains. Then companies like Rackspace that naively hurried to adopt the open source "free platforms" are now faced with unexpected "hidden fees" from patent parasites that crawl along.

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382557)

You can read, right? The judge dismissed the patent trolling case by Uniloc on the basis that claim #1 was an unpatentable concept because it is a simple mathematical operation. Your troll powers don't work against common sense and logic. Isn't microsoft parasitic for using the BSD implementation of the TCP/IP stack instead of making their own? I would say that your logic has holes in it, but what you've said has no logic in it. It's not even a logical statement. Go read the article again.

Parasitic? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382747)

If by "parasitic" you mean legally licensed BSD code then yes. They might have based their first IP stack from BSD code but then again wouldn't anyone do this instead of writing from scratch? I know the command line FTP program in WinNT was BSD based. But again why rewrite something when you have mature established code to license from.

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382825)

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on a second.

Is Microsoft parasitic? Undeniably.

For using the BSD implementation of this, that, or the other?

Uhh, no, I don't think so. Isn't BSD allowed to be used any damned way anybody wants to use it? That's the selling point of BSD over the GPL, isn't it? You can analyze it, use it, change it, make derivative works, then license those works as you see fit. It's appealing to industry, it's appealing to hopeful startups, it's even appealing to government and private individuals who are hoping to cash in.

Yes, Microsoft is parasitic, but not for using a BSD licensed software or method.

If BSD's methods and software happen to be the best, fastest, most secure, and most elegant solution in any given situation - take it and run with it. That's basically what the license says.

If the GPL people want their license to be respected, then the BSD licenses need to be respected.

And, lest I be misunderstood - I am NOT making an argument that BSD is better than GPL, nor am I arguing that GPL is better than BSD.

Symbiotes feed on GPL; parasites feed off of BSD. (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383021)

Symbiotes feed on GPL; parasites feed off of BSD. -- me (note the use of semicolon! Yay!!)

A parasite is a parasite, whether you give it permission to be a parasite or not. Someone who hits you in the head still hit you in the head, even if you say "I told 'em they could hit me, I swear, I did! I asked for it!"
:>)
A symbiote is part of a symbiotic relationship, in which the symbiote gives something back to the host. Even with the permissive licensing of BSD, requiring the BSD attribution alone, using BSD produced code makes you a fucking parasitic remora sucking on the body of the graceful shark that is Berkeley's BSD
.
If you want to think and talk in those terms, GPL users are symbiotic. When they distribute new code which is derivative of GPL-licensed code, they are required to distribute the new source along with it an a GPL-licensed fashion. That is the only cost associated with feeding off of GPL-licensed code. BSD parasites only have to proclaim to the world that they are parasites leeching off and feeding on BSD-licensed code.
.
So don't forget that you are agreeing with me anyway that Microsoft is parasitic. So why are we arguing? Feeding off of the BSD is parasitic, IMHO, and I'm not saying that it's bad. I was just pointing out to the idiot who initially replied to me about people being parasites off MS or off of proprietary code. I went ahead and pointed out that it's not true, and also showed an example of how MS is in fact parastitic.

oopsie, "parasitic", not "parastitic". (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383023)

My spelling bad, folks, oopsie, "parasitic", not "parastitic", not "parrot-sittic", not "psittacosis". Plain old "para-sit-ic". I previewed it. Twice! I swear!

Re:Symbiotes feed on GPL; parasites feed off of BS (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383087)

Oh-kay. I'm not going to argue real hard about any of that. I don't really agree with that position, but I don't really disagree.

I will note that there must be some symbiotes contributing back to BSD. Without ongoing contributions, the body of BSD licensed OS's and software would soon become obsolete, and forgotten. Maybe it's more fair to say that BSD is more tolerant of parasites than GPL is?

Re:Symbiotes feed on GPL; parasites feed off of BS (1)

styrotech (136124) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383147)

A symbiote is part of a symbiotic relationship, in which the symbiote gives something back to the host. Even with the permissive licensing of BSD, requiring the BSD attribution alone, using BSD produced code makes you a fucking parasitic remora sucking on the body of the graceful shark that is Berkeley's BSD

Remoras aren't parasitic. Well not in the biological sense at least - I suppose they still are in the fluid dynamic sense [wikipedia.org] (groan).

Re:Symbiotes feed on GPL; parasites feed off of BS (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383197)

Good joke. Yeah, they're the same as skateboard kids holding onto a car or truck passing by; they're stealing your kinetic energy. The web page for Remora [wikipedia.org] calls it "phoresy" or "commensalism", (two new words for me, yay vocabulary for the SAT!)
The host to which it attaches for transport gains nothing from the relationship, but also loses little. The remora benefits by using the host as transport and protection, and also feeds on materials dropped by the host.

So it's parasitic in terms of transport and stealing kinetic energy.
.
Now the Lamprey [wikipedia.org] distribution of software probably would be a blood-sucking parasite, by definition alone! Thanks for the groan-filled laugh!

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382659)

It looks like there are groups of people that actively use open source software to exploit ideas whithin them for their gains.

If I had mod points I'd mod you as +1:Funny. Suffice to say, you're a total cretin.

Users of free and open source software have the complete right and freedom by the terms of all the major OSI-approved licenses to use, read, study, learn from, modify, and exploit to their heart's content everything contained in their licensed software.

Clearly you're butthurt by this granted freedom, and your attempt at closed-source FUD is showing. Live with it.

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384239)

I don't think that's what the GP meant.
I think they meant there are people/groups that peruse the source of open source software, find good ideas in it, patent them, and then sue based on those patents.

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382581)

Microsoft is (or should be) so busy saving its own skin it can't afford a war with anyone right now. Windows 8? Meh. Office 365? Meh. The Microsoft iPad thingie what was it called again? Yeah. Was it worth pissing off all the OEM's over? Ballmer just keeps shooting himself in the foot again and again and again. It's almost as if he wants Microsoft to fail.

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383099)

IMHO, mathematics should not be patentable AT ALL and IN ANY FORM. However, what galls me particularly here is how this whole patent business appears being settled among a bunch of ignorant monkeys.

In mathematics, the analysis of rounding operations is nontrivial, and in general making a choice about rounding before or after some other operation can sometimes be extremely clever. So while the judge made ultimately the right decision, his justification based on labelling the claims "simple mathematical operations" seems woefully inadequate, suggesting that he has no clue at all. His official argument should at least be based on a more substantive understanding of whatever the system claims to do.

This reminds me of another famous example [wikipedia.org] when a bunch of non-mathematicians decided they had figured out some simple mathematical operations.

don't patent mathematics (2, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383233)

re: IMHO, mathematics should not be patentable AT ALL and IN ANY FORM.
:>)
My humble opinion is that you are completely correct. I agree with you 100% (as that is the maximum allowed by the laws of mathematics, though the laws of idiomacy allow for greater percentages). Also, numbers ought not be patentable. Say even a 2MB number which may or may not be prime, but whose binary representation just might happen to match a Linux elf executeable file for the Macintosh-G4-powerpc architecture that has a standard debian operating system and libraries on it. That program is just a number; it's a very loooooooong binary number. But integers are just an element of mathematics. Again, I agree with you. But the devil's advocate made me say it!

Re:Concerted lawsuits against linux? Who's behind (2)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384005)

IMHO, mathematics should not be patentable AT ALL and IN ANY FORM.

The problem with that is that everything can be seen as mathematics. The operation of any machine or process is really just evaluation of quantum mechanical wave equations. So mathematics IN ANY FORM includes physical reality itself.

Business method patents would still be fine, though, due to the disconnect between economics and reality.

Re:Getting "tough"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383047)

All of this mumbo jumbo stinks of Dungeons & Dragons style legal tomfoolery.

X casts silence.
Y repels silence.
Y casts fists of declaratory judgement for 50HP damage.
Y casts fiery breach of contract.

Next we'll find out the lawyers really are using 12 sided dice.

Re:Getting "tough"? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382351)

Bad summary. According to a post on the Rackspace blog, "we negotiated a mutual forbearance agreement that required either party to give 30 days’ notice before bringing suit." It isn't that they had agreed to pay the troll, it's that Rackspace was doing their best to get the details about the alleged infringement without waiving their right to bring a countersuit. Source: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/why-rackspace-sued-the-most-notorious-patent-troll-in-america/ [rackspace.com] .

Re:Getting "tough"? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382637)

So what they are REALLY saying is...

Honey, we left the cash on the dresser, and now you want more?

This is more of a Barney the Dinosaur rampage than a Godzilla rampage.

Re:Getting "tough"? (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383625)

At least with Godzilla you can run screaming. You might even get away.

Barney is everywhere. (thankfully, not as much as he once was...)

Imagine that (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382229)

Patent trolls go after those who will settle. Let that be a lesson before paying off the next troll.

Trolls Will Always Troll (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382237)

You can't make a deal with a troll. They will always come back for more. It's just their nature to be greedy assholes who want everything for nothing.

Dear Rackspace: fight the good fight.

God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382247)

I have a bit-test-and-set locked bit for each drive. Tasks on different cores have to wait until the drive is available. Disk requests are not broken in pieces. It's pretty safe, but you just might cause problems accessing the same disk directory from multiple tasks -- I didn't do anything special.

"Doctor it hurt when I do this." "Don't do that."

Would this work? (2)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382269)

First patent troll to stick their nose into your business, license with the proviso that now you've signed with them, any later actions by anyone else are on their head, then just point patent troll at patent troll. If they're that sure they own the patent and it's strong enough, then surely they'll be ok to step up and indemnify you from there on against others? If not, then they're not as sure of their validity as they hope and you refuse. "Oh, hello there new troll, oh, you think you own that? Well, we just license it from them, they took all the money from us, and it's them you need to speak to" and you get to the greener grass on the other side of the bridge.

Re:Would this work? (4, Interesting)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382337)

The problem is, when you've established that you're a profitable to trolls, they're much more likely to gang up to backstab you. I suspect the following wouldn't be entirely atypical:

Troll 1) We have patent! Give us meellion dollar, or we sue!
You) O.K.; here's $1M, but you've got to protect us against the next troll.
Troll 2) We have patent! Give us meelion dollars, or we sue!
Troll 1) Our board of directors take meellion dollar bonus for hard work! Now we bankrupt! Our directors find new job with Troll 2!
Troll 1+2) Give us two meellion dollar! Or double sue!
You) ... aww, shit.

Since the troll companies are generally just empty shell corporations for investor psychopaths, they have no reason to stick around to fight each other (knowing that, by the time they ever won a case, the payout cash would have long ago vanished into some other Cayman Islands fund). A company with a solid revenue stream from actually making and selling products, that's proven itself a juicy target for Troll 1, is just asking to be bilked twice (by the same leeches under a different corporate name).

Atlas Smug (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382441)

investor psychopaths

I'll have you know you're talking about the Job Creators! The Makers, not the Takers. Those people who want to build and sell stuff are just parasites.

So that will be "Mr Investor Psychopath" from now on, if you don't mind, except "Mr Investor Psychopath" happens to be a trademark so until you get expressed written permission just keep your mouth shut and pay up, you leech.

WTF is the link to? (5, Informative)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382285)

It might as well be spam in my inbox.

Why not just link the damn blog post by Rackspace itself? link [rackspace.com]

Re:WTF is the link to? (4, Funny)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382371)

You clicked the link? That's weird.

C64 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382287)

My vision was a souped-up C64. Simple.

Linux is nasty code.

I do not respect people who make complicated structures to do file sharing. I wrote a compiler. Linus didn't write a compiler, did he. Too hard.

What patents? (3, Interesting)

supersat (639745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382289)

As I understand it, HDFS is just a clone of Google's GFS. What IP could Parallel Iron possibly own?

Oh wait...

"IP Nav told us that they could not divulge the details of their infringement claims -- not even the patent numbers or the patent owner -- unless we entered into a 'forbearance agreement' -- basically, an agreement that we would not sue them."

So they probably have nothing. How is this legal?!

Re:What patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382369)

Company A invents and patents the refrigerator, but doesn't enforce the patent.

Companies B, C, and D enter the refrigerator market.

Company D patents the idea of embedding an icemaker in the front door of the refrigerator.

Maybe this could've been avoided if Company A made its waiver of patent claims conditional on competitors also waiving their claims on add-on inventions.

Patent troll E patents (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382403)

Patent trolls don't make refrigerators, they make patents. So there would be no waiver because they would have no reason to license the fridge patent.

Some of these are quite laughable, if you read the article, you'll see a patent on rounding floating point numbers with non standard exponents without changing the exponent size, i.e. what every floating point package did before IEEE standardized the representation of under and overflow case.

Putting aside it was a patent on math, the patent office thought to grant it, because there was no prior publication. Yet to be a non-standard exponent-mantissa, there has to be standard. So the actual new thing there, was the IEEE standard.

You see how clever these trolls are, the definition of prior art cannot cover all cases, the patent office chooses to issue patents by default, and so its quite easy to get patents on core things, and troll. Of course Rackspace don't know the history of floating point math, so they don't have the tools/knowledge to defend themselves, the troll can attack any number of similarly tangential businesses, hoping the risk is too great that they'll license.

Carmen Ortiz would love the patent troll world, when she's finally fired from the justice department, the patent troll world is a very similar.

Re:What patents? (1, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382471)

I'm told that in Australia that would be "demanding money with menaces", which is why the SCO scam never collected a dollar in Australia despite some people ringing up and offering to pay in the hope of doing a bit of entrapment. Where you are you can thank the Libertarian mindset that makes it perfectly legal to make unspecified threats of legal action to frighten people into handing over money.

Re:What patents? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382585)

Since when is that part of the "libertarian mindset"? Justify your answer.

Re:What patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382651)

Libertarian way. The parent's snide remark refers to the 'transition' period where libertarians try to implement their ideals and hilarity ensues:

1) "I have a gun, give me your money or I'll shoot you."
Errr meh gerrd, we need a system of laws to prevent this! Though it reduces liberty, It is a necessary evil to have a functioning society.

2) System of laws in place, person obtains gun illegally.
"I have a gun, give me your money or I'll shoot you."
Errr meh gerrd, we need a place to put criminals who break the system of laws! And I suppose we'll need a way to fund it.

3) Method of consolidating funds acquired to fund prisons (taxes). Crimanal laws and courts set up to put away, punish, or rehabilitate criminals
"I am a lawyer/judge, and have been paid off. Give me your money or I'll jail you."

Back to the status quo. Alot more involved in it, like roads, public projects & their funding, schools, research charity, etc.. but it generally works out the same way.

Lawl.

Re:What patents? (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382691)

The "government leave me alone" idea coupled with the "let the buyer beware" when somebody gets ripped off due to the government leaving things alone. Both are ideas pushed very strongly by people that call themselves Libertarians and ask others to vote for them under that banner.

Re:What patents? (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383381)

It's part of the Libertarian mindset because "do whatever you want as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others" is the libertarian mindset.

Suing someone is not infringing their rights. It's accusing them of infringing upon yours.

Re:What patents? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383527)

In some countries, threatening to sue someone is a real threat: settle, or spend the rest of your life and life savings in court. In other countries, even Single Mum being sued by MegaCorp, inc will be happy to let the case go to court, or more likely MegaCorp will think twice before filing a meritless case in the first place. Those latter countries understand that legal threats are still threats and in some cases warrant rules or fixes to a broken judicial system to protect the public against them. But all of that has nothing to do with a libertarian mindset.

Re:What patents? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383533)

The "does not infringe upon the rights of others" is often optional as rights are seen to be negotiable, or in other words what can be gotten away with. The Libertarian attitudes to the concept of a minimum wage or pollution controls are two prime examples where the rights of others are not seen to matter.

Re:What patents? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384977)

The libertarian mindset does not include "intellectual property" you dumbass.

Re:What patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382795)

"You got a nice little datacenter here, it would be a shame if something happened..."
crash
"Sorry, Rocky here is a little clumsy, see. Now, I can offer you protection, see..."
crash
"Rocky, common, lets give the man a chance..."
crash, crash, crash
"I'd hate to see anything happen to your servers, so wadda say? You want our protection, right?"

Re:What patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383327)

Oh, it is legal. They play on fear. But you may assume that they have nothing to stand on - and refuse. They will have to divulge everything in court.

Uniloc (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382325)

Here's something a little "funny", Rackspace and Red Hat sued Uniloc over the idea of patenting mathematical algorithms, and Rackspace / Red Hat won. Guess where Uniloc parks their servers?

Still not good enough (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382389)

I'm not going to be happy until we get a Slashdot headline that reads something like: "Rabid Ninja Mosad Assassin Zombie Horde Goes On Rampage Against Patent Trolls".

Interesting idea (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382411)

It would be funny to settle with the troll and have something in the contract like, "agree not to sue me or my assigns" and then assign rights to all my software patents to everybody.

IANAL and have no idea if such a thing would hold up in court; but it's no more ridiculous than most of what passes for law these days.

Are the courts the enemy of the people? (5, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382455)

The problem is with overinflated lawyers fees, court procedures which encourage paperwork which makes even more fees for lawyers and and court fees that the courts are so expensive you are looking at handing lawyers and courts two million up just to defend yourself from a patent troll. If cases were streamlined and it only cost $10K to defend a patent troll it would be far fairer, but lawyers and judges would be out of work. Have you ever heard of judges being laid off for lack of work? Judges whose communities depend on patent trolls for a steady stream of cases have a conflict of interest. If they came down hard on patent trolls and threw out meritless cases there would be boarded up lawyers offices all over town. Instead the judges say well geez better have a trial anyway just to be sure. It might get an answer but it wastes a fuckload of cash to get there. If the USPTO issued firm rulings we wouldn't need the courts. Instead the USPTO scratch their balls and say well I will just approve this shit because I can't understand it anyway and let the courts sort it out. The problem is as much the court system as it is the USPTO. They should streamline these but do you really think lawyers and judges will be putting themselves out of work?

Patents are written in bullshit confusing language so courts argue what they mean. A software engineering looking at one of these wouldn't even recognize their own system in one of these documents. Lawyers write them to be broad and confusing so they can make money arguing it. The USPTO shouldn't be approving patents that are unreadable. And if a IT graduate can't read one of these and work out what they mean, they shouldn't be granted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll [wikipedia.org]
http://news.cnet.com/8301-32973_3-57409792-296/how-much-is-that-patent-lawsuit-going-to-cost-you/ [cnet.com]
http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2013/03/guest-editorial-throwing-trolls-off-the-bridge.html [patentlyo.com]

Re:Are the courts the enemy of the people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382599)

They use autospin with spinnerchief to write their patents... results are unreadable... lol

You are playing the wrong way (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382619)

If you play the game according to the rules of the trolls (ie lawyers), you have already lost.


Around here, the troll would have received a "corrective", and in the next morning his lawyers would appear floating downriver.

Re:You are playing the wrong way (3, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382643)

Yes. I met one poor troll victim whose knowledge of the court system came from TV dramas and thought they would get a fair trial. $$$$ later he discovered the system is rigged in favor of lawyers and trolls. No trolls. No business. Judges are supposed to be dignified and neutral. If you get one that isn't you are fucked. http://mokellyreport.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/sterling-reviews-of-judge-natalia-combs-green/ [wordpress.com] You are right. Play the game their way and you are fucked,

Re:Are the courts the enemy of the people? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382797)

The government is the enemy of the people and the courts are just a portion of the government. Judge is a political position. Justice is for sale and we have institutionalized slavery in the form of privatized prisons, without even producing any useful output (which is not a call for work camps...)

Re:Are the courts the enemy of the people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43383305)

What sould be the case: if it is not clear that is applies, it clearly doesn't apply!

How can one be aware that a patent exists if it takes a lot and a lot of work to figure out it one's work is infringing?

Re:Are the courts the enemy of the people? (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384807)

"The few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons." Frédéric Bastiat, The Law.

And, by extension, participation in the legal system.

Patent trolls make ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382653)

... debt collectors look like angels.

YOU KNOW........ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382665)

......a crooked corporation that wanted to pad expenses in order to reduce tax burden could just form shell corporation that holds a cheapo patent, and then claim infrigement to the main crooked corp. Then, the crooked corp "pays" that shell, launders the money for other purposes, and claims the "damages" on its loss statement, writing it off for taxes.

Hope you're listening, government and court system! This loophole of patent abuse can be used directly against you, so I wouldn't be so fast to condone it just because you shortsightedly think it benefits you, LMFAO

Game theory (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#43382949)

It surprises me that this hasn't become a policy before. Patent trolls exist because they know that the company will roll over if it's cheaper to comply than to fight.

Problem is, that only works for a single stage game. What we have is a repeated stage game. The optimal strategy for the troll victim is to fight, and to do as much damage to the troll as possible. This increases the cost of operation for the troll, and makes the victim a lot less lucrative a target for future lawsuits.

Article (and summary) is wrong/misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382989)

infringing Parallel Iron's Hadoop Distributed File System patents

The whole point of the case is whether or not Parallel Iron's patents are actually infringed by HDFS. It has not been proven in a court of law whether those patents are relevant or not.

I'm continually amazed at how bad the press is when it comes to Hadoop. From glorified blogs like this one and Giga Om to even allegedly respectable places like Forbes, they always seem to find the folks who know the least and/or are completely influenced by marketing and PR. As a result, the articles are either highly misleading or just plain wrong about basic facts.

Not surprising (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383011)

"as the firm said it has a deal in place with Parallel Iron after signing a previous patent settlement with them."

If you pay the Danegeld you will never be rid of the Dane.

Going on a "rampage?" (-1, Troll)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383365)

They're countersuing a single paten troll on the basis of a legal merit. How is that "going on a rampage" against patent trolls?

Hyperbole much, Slashdot?

I honestly don't know why I visit this site anymore. It must be the "train wreck" quality that you just can't get away from.

Hadoop Distributed File System... patents??? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383871)

Say what? Okay, so I'm late to this dance.

I just started looking into Hadoop, but from what I've read, I thought that the HDFS was open source. It certainly looks that way when I perused Apache Hadoop yesterday.

What did I miss?

Re:Hadoop Distributed File System... patents??? (2)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384373)

I just started looking into Hadoop, but from what I've read, I thought that the HDFS was open source. It certainly looks that way when I perused Apache Hadoop yesterday.

What did I miss?

Only a decade or two of rampant "intellectual property" abuse, and impotent raging about it on Slashdot.

Everything's patented, usually several times over. It doesn't matter if it's open source; open source only provides you with rights that the original author had the authority to license; a third-party patent doesn't fit into that category.

The earlier patent Rackspace fought off patented the steps of loading a floating point value into a register, rounding it, performing an operation on it, and storing it back into memory. Even aside from being unpatentable subject matter, it's been done billions of times before (rounding before or after; both have been done); it's both obvious and non-novel. But the USPTO accepted it, so some troll had something to sue over.

Re:Hadoop Distributed File System... patents??? (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384851)

Everything's patented...

This is one of the reasons I think the next 10-15 years could get interesting. There was a story a couple years back about how a company had failed an appeal against a troll that had a patent which broadly covered distributing digital music. IIRC, the patent was going to expire in 2017. There are a lot of patents like this that have been filed in the 1995-2010 period and I think the more savvy small businesses will begin searching expired patents and making them work for their needs.

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