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Newegg Defeats Alcatel-Lucent in Third Patent Win This Year

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the fred-chang-doesn't-mess-around dept.

Businesses 143

Newegg's policy of not backing down from patent trolls, even ones as large as Alcatel-Lucent, continues to result in victory. Earlier this year, Overstock and Newegg successfully defended themselves with a jury invalidating Alcatel-Lucent's main patent used to force companies as large as Amazon to settle. Naturally, Alcatel-Lucent appealed, but the appeals court quickly ruled in favor of Newegg and Overstock.com. From Ars: "Federal Circuit judges typically take months, and occasionally years, to review the patent appeals that come before them. Briefs in this case were submitted last year, and oral arguments were held last Friday, May 10. The three-judge panel upheld Newegg's win (PDF), without comment — in just three days. ... Alcatel-Lucent dropped the case over its other two patents, desperate to get back the '131 patent that Newegg and Overstock had killed at trial. 'If they had been able to revive this patent, the litigation machine would have continued on,' Reines told Reuters after the win."

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143 comments

Rancid! (-1, Troll)

RectumOfDiseases (2925045) | about a year ago | (#43741057)

Did you really think you could just screw my rancid asshole and be done with me? As soon as your fetid cock gave my feces-infested rectum a cock-smooch, your cock and my asshole practically became one! Speaking of becoming one, I just farted out some cum-covered feces. What say you?

Seriously? (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a year ago | (#43741089)

They really need to stop granting patents to generic and vague stuff. Besides, the stuff in that patent was done decades before Amazon even existed.

Re:Seriously? (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a year ago | (#43741197)

Patent #49382

Thing that does other things.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741351)

wood filler...

http://www.google.com/patents?id=HzgAAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

Compound Preparation (1)

xdor (1218206) | about a year ago | (#43742439)

You've got to admit, any wood filler that requires two gallons of Japan is pretty novel

Re:Seriously? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43741293)

They really need to stop granting patents

eom

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43741617)

A patent should require a physical object. Yes that means method and software patents die instantly, which is a very good thing.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year ago | (#43741797)

The patentability of software only applies when it is run on a computer. If you never run it on the physical object of a computer, then you can't violate its patent.

Re:Seriously? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43742019)

Then if I run it on a differently designed computer (say ARM rather than x86) it doesn't violate the patent.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742025)

You are joking right?

Patent-ability of mathematics? Never! Math cannot be patented, and once software is set to run on a computer, all that remains is math, period.

Software can NEVER be patented, neither can business methods *when run on a computer*.

I personally cannot wait until every software or method patent revolving around "being run on a computer/smartphone/tablet/etc..." are deemed null and void as they should NEVER have been granted.

If it wasn't for the graft and greed or incompetence of the employees of the patent office, they never would have.

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43742109)

If it wasn't for the graft and greed or incompetence of the employees of the patent office, they never would have.

And since the US has set themselves up to be an economy highly dependent on patents and copyright, I seriously doubt you'll see these patents repealed.

The people lobbying for expanded IP rights don't want patents lessened, and they're not going to allow the politicians to take away their meal ticket.

When Microsoft makes more revenue from Android licenses (for patents I'm not convinced they've ever disclosed) than they do on their own OS, nobody is going to allow patents to stop being so widespread.

At this point, all of the "too big to fail" companies are so dependent on this as to make it inseparable from their core business.

Re:Seriously? (4, Interesting)

greenbird (859670) | about a year ago | (#43742317)

The patentability of software only applies when it is run on a computer.

Software isn't being patented in "software" patents. Vague ideas and idioms are patented. Pinching the screen to zoom isn't a software patent. If it was a software patent the patent should be on exactly how the software accomplishes the effect, on the implementation. If my implementation accomplishes the effect differently it wouldn't infringe your patent. The implementation is the code. The code is copyrighted. A real software patent would be redundant. The way it works now is the equivalent of inventing a special kind of drill bit and getting a patent on anything that makes holes. That's how software patents work now.

Re:Seriously? (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#43742207)

Software patents are actually defined in terms of a physical object, the medium on which it's stored. They often include magic phrases like "a computer readable memory device having stored thereon a computer program".

IMHO, the problem isn't with the physicalness of the invention. After all, in the end it's really the insight and effort that you're trying to reward. The problem, I believe, is that the USPTO has done a terrible job of encouraging insight and effort by granting vague and obvious patents which contain neither, and the only "insight" was in how to game the patent office.

Judging what's insightful enough to merit a patent is tricky, but the patent trolls rely exclusively on patents where anybody "skilled in the art" would tell you that it was too trivial to bother writing down. The trolls rely on the fact that judges and juries are not skilled in the art, and are easily confused. Even in this case, the judge who came to the correct conclusion ends up making it (IMHO) needlessly complicated:

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/2011-1009.Opinion.1-17-2013.1.PDF [uscourts.gov]

He explicitly makes "obviousness" a matter of law, i.e. a thing defined by the details of previous cases, rather than the universal opinion of those who would have done precisely the same thing if presented with the same problem.

Diseased... (-1, Troll)

RectumOfDiseases (2925045) | about a year ago | (#43741093)

Ever since my fetid cock spotted your rancid, diseased asshole, my cock has been lusting after it. Now, I formally beseech thee, allow me to shove my smelly cock into everything I see! I can't wait until my cock is covered in your feces! What say you?

A simple summary... (4, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#43741099)

Of the patent(s) at hand would have been nice...

Re:A simple summary... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43741159)

Or at least the complete patent number...

Re:A simple summary... (4, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43741239)

I know this is not appropriate to Orthdox Slashdotism, but if you had read TFA, you'd have found this link [google.com] to the actual patent in play.

Re:A simple summary... (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43741313)

Yeah I'm an idiot and didn't see that there :p

Re:A simple summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741337)

Or TFS for that matter. It is in there.

Re:A simple summary... (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43741373)

Am I the only one that read the patent and thought it was extremely vague and so general that it describes almost every client-server relationship since the beginning of the computing?

Re:A simple summary... (4, Informative)

Paul Slocum (598127) | about a year ago | (#43741499)

"Evidence at trial showed Alcatel's patent application to the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) that resulted in the issuance of the '131 patent was faulty because the claimed invention was both anticipated and rendered obvious by technologies from the 1980's that preceded Alcatel's patent application by years." source [bracewellgiuliani.com]

Re:A simple summary... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43741813)

Only 1980's? I'd be surprised if substantial part of that, at the least, didn't go back to Doug Engelbart's On-Line System demo in 1968. :-) That was a veritable treasure trove, that one.

Re:A simple summary... (3, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year ago | (#43742515)

Only 1980's? I'd be surprised if substantial part of that, at the least, didn't go back to Doug Engelbart's On-Line System demo in 1968. :-) That was a veritable treasure trove, that one.

Generally, when invalidating a patent, you go for the most recent prior art that's still "prior" to the priority date of the patent - there's less wiggle room when you say "this was done 6 months earlier by X" as opposed to "this was done 20 years previously by Y", because with the latter, they can respond "if so, how come no one exploited it for 20 years?"

Re:A simple summary... (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43741511)

That's what I read as well. It was so over-broad that it would have covered IBM 3270 terminals, which were a mainstay of the 1970s. They probably never tried suing IBM over it.

Re:A simple summary... (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43742063)

I'd like to see that. If the SCO trial has shown something it's that you don't go up against the Nazgul with dubious claims. IBM will never back down. They probably spent much more on trial than SCO was offering to settle.

Re:A simple summary... (2)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#43741549)

And thus the problem everyone is having at the moment.

Apparently the judges thought so too (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#43741661)

> Am I the only one that read the patent and thought it was extremely vague and so general that it describes almost every client-server relationship since the beginning of the computing?

It seems the answer is no. The judges, in the trial and the appeal, also thought it was a bogus patent.

Re:A simple summary... (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#43741689)

My thought was "they've patented RPC (remote response of an object to an input). Or possibly HTML (terminal system displays an object according to its own capabilities)."

Re:A simple summary... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43741773)

I was thinking of the web and HTML too when reading it. In 1997 certainly everyone had heard of both.

Design Patterns (1)

xdor (1218206) | about a year ago | (#43742533)

I think they're essentially trying to patent the Adapter Pattern for any telecommunications protocol

Though it reads like you can get around it by including spaces in any encrypted strings

Re:A simple summary... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741327)

Patent Abstract -- #5649131
http://www.google.com/patents/US5649131?dq=5649131&hl=en&sa=X&ei=02SUUa_iMuaLjALM8ICYCg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA

Re:A simple summary... (4, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43741493)

I read it -- it took me 4 minutes to figure it out.

Old way: Server sends, say, menu of 5 items with indicator to highlight first.

User arrows down two, client sends two down arrows. Server notes this that it is on 3rd item, but only in theory.

User hits enter. Server receives enter and decides 3rd item is selected.

Patent: Send IDs for all that shit and client reports ID-based activities.

Re:A simple summary... (5, Interesting)

schlick (73861) | about a year ago | (#43741875)

heh the lawyer for Alcatel didn't even know which patent it was!

"Successful defendants have their litigation managed by people who care," said Cheng. "For me, it's easy. I believe in Newegg, I care about Newegg. Alcatel Lucent, meanwhile, they drag out some random VP—who happens to be a decorated Navy veteran, who happens to be handsome and has a beautiful wife and kids—but the guy didn't know what patents were being asserted. What a joke.

Fuck Yeah! (5, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43741103)

Give 'em hell, Newegg!

Another big PC build order comin' your way! Keep on winning

BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff? The legitimate heir of Western Electric and Bell Labs has fallen very far.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0, Offtopic)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43741157)

Another big PC build order comin' your way! Keep on winning

I'm so conflicted. Amazon buckled while Newegg funded their lawsuit with the absurd restocking fees I've paid them in the past after they've failed to deliver on time and I got the stuff overnighted for $4 from Amazon instead.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43741909)

Yea I agree, Newegg does seem to have gone down of late.

They used to be great, and the shipping is still fast. But there are now cheaper alternatives with better customer support. If shit happens then you are basically fucked.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43742443)

"failed to deliver on time" and "overnighted for $4 from Amazon"

I've been on both sides of that same street. Newegg failed to deliver on time - they refunded my shipping. Amazon failed to deliver on time, they refunded my shipping. But, both have delivered on time, as well.

And, neither can take credit or blame. No matter which shipper they use, that shipper usually hands off the package to the USPS. It seems to depend on exactly WHERE they hand it off to the USPS, whether my package will arrive in time.

I've tracked packages going THROUGH Texarkana, TO Dallas, Tx, sitting there for a day or more, to be loaded onto another truck back to Shreveport, then finally being loaded onto delivery trucks bound for local post offices.

So, the package actually passes by me, 20 miles away, on Interstate 30. It arrives 180 miles away, in Dallas, to be shipped to Shreveport, 100 miles away, and finally trucked yet again to my home town.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (1)

skydyr (1404883) | about a year ago | (#43742567)

Package routing is just the same as network package routing. I can't directly send a packet to the office next door just because they're nearby... it has to follow the various routing paths I have available, and the physical packages are routed similarly. Also, you don't expect the truck delivering a bunch of packages to dallas to stop at your house just for a sec to deliver your package, do you?

Re:Fuck Yeah! (2, Interesting)

Shotgun (30919) | about a year ago | (#43741529)

BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff?

I was working for them in the early 90's when they broke off from AT&T. No. I don't remember when they ever innovated anything. Even at that time, they were milking the telephone cow.

Then I worked for Alcatel in the 2000-2002 timeframe. They were also a huge rent seeking corporation, intent on riding their old technology wagon for as long as possible.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43742023)

So, a match made in hell then?

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741533)

Indeed.

I just finished a build but I've got some other PCs that need upgrading. Newegg gets my business. (They have in the past, they're great. This past week though I picked stuff from my local Microcenter for instant gratification.)

Re:Fuck Yeah! (3, Insightful)

wiggles (30088) | about a year ago | (#43741535)

Yep. I was a contractor there during the dot-com bust. Watched their stock drop like a stone overnight. For the company that essentially invented cellular service, the company that managed to build a global telecommunications infrastructure, and invent Unix and C on the side - it was truly sad to see what the corporate raiders did to them.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43742483)

Huh, wut? Who invented Unix? I always though Bell Labs got credit for that. Now it's Lucent and/or Alcatel? Why are we finding it necessary to rewrite history?

Re:Fuck Yeah! (5, Informative)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about a year ago | (#43741787)

BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff? The legitimate heir of Western Electric and Bell Labs has fallen very far.

Do you mean like this? Light Radio [cnn.com] , a programmable cell tower the size of your palm?

While true it has been a while since the hey day of Bell Labs coming out with new tech every few years, they don't seem dead just yet. I blame their current state on chasing quarterly or yearly profits and having a somewhat unfair playing field with companies like Huawei and ZTE instead of investing in the long term tech.

Per wikipedia

On August 28, 2008, Alcatel-Lucent announced it was pulling out of basic science, material physics, and semiconductor research, and it will instead focus on more immediately marketable areas, including networking, high-speed electronics, wireless networks, nanotechnology and software.

That and their merger with Alcatel hasn't been very smooth. Though too, perhaps the wireless tech is maturing so there is not the low hanging fruit anymore?

Also for clarification Bell Labs is still around in at least some form, it is the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent. Lucent merged with Alcatel back in 2006.

Re:Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742115)

anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff?

It started its decline after Ma-Bell was forced to split up. Somehow, the rich developed an entitlement
attitude that divided the country into loosely two groups: us (the wealthy) and them (our servants).
As a result, education in the U.S of A. began to decline (was does a toilet bowl scrubber need and
engineering degree - we'll outsoure for cheaper labor!) It took a few years, but basically that's kinda
where we're at. BTW, Mitt is of the same class of people who split up Ma-Bell (no, not 'publican, Mormon).

Missing info from the articles (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#43741179)

How did they end up owning this patent? Alcatel-Lucent is not on the original patent. Also, now that the patent has been thrown out, what changes in here [google.com] ? I can't find anything in there showing its updated status.

Re:Missing info from the articles (4, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43741285)

at the trial the alacatel VP who was sent to testify had no idea which patent newegg was violating or how they were violating it. alcatel just said you must be violating one of our 27,000 patents

Re:Missing info from the articles (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#43741597)

So no patent was invalidated. It is just that there was no infringement...

Re:Missing info from the articles (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43741631)

Ah Alcatel. 27000 patents and not one usable product.

Re:Missing info from the articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742301)

I have a 15 Euro alcatel dumbphone. Works great and has been doing so for 6 years now, which is an eternity in phoneland. Still about a week battry life (not as great as the original month, but still...)

Re:Missing info from the articles (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about a year ago | (#43741537)

A patent is property. That is why companies give bonuses to engineers that come up with patentable ideas. Only people can be awarded patents, and for the company to then take ownership, they have to pay for them.

Re:Missing info from the articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741739)

As a person who has spent thirty years working with engineers I can tell you that both of those payments are typically one dollar. Occasionally the bonus is a little higher, but the payment for the patent never is.

Re:Missing info from the articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742195)

Yes. If you get a dollar you're lucky. Remember the US of A supports "work for hire",
so anything you invent was just part of your job anyway. I don't know if it has changed,
but Germany (used to?) grant patents to people irrespective of their employment relationship
with their company.

Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741187)

...with a jury invalidating Alcatel-Lucent's main patent used to force companies as large as Amazon to settle.

I don't think that word means what you think it means. Amazon wasn't forced to settle. They almost certainly chose to settle because it was cheaper. It's the corporate equivalent of the coward's way out.

Re:Force (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43741603)

Force is a euphemism for blackmail, and it's not inaccurate when applied here. "Nice web site you got here, it'd be a shame if we had a court order you to take it down. Give us $100,000 and nothing bad will happen to it, or you risk losing a $100,000,000 in court if we win." That's force to a company that doesn't have $100,000,000 in their bank account.

Newegg's made a corporate decision that said "we don't care if it's a thousand times cheaper to settle than to risk losing a lawsuit. We have a very large pile of money, and we have promised to call every single bluff presented to us. We will never fold our hand."

Go, Newegg!

Re:Force (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741733)

Actually, their view is somewhat more long-sighted than that. "We know settling this one patent would be cheaper than fighting, but settling would encourage a flood of other patent trolls to try and that would be more expensive."

Re:Force (0)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43741841)

"Nice web site you got here, it'd be a shame if we had a court order you to take it down. Give us $100,000 and nothing bad will happen to it, or you risk losing a $100,000,000 in court if we win."

Well .. My answer in such case is silence, followed by several bullets in the troll head. Much better.

Good show, NewEgg! (4, Interesting)

sstamps (39313) | about a year ago | (#43741287)

THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43741357)

THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

Amazon are not pure patent trolls or they would not have been sued. They actually use their technologies. I'm not saying they are squeaky clean, I certainly didn't like their 1 click patent [wikipedia.org] , but they are not a complete troll.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (4, Informative)

Jonner (189691) | about a year ago | (#43741843)

THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

Amazon are not pure patent trolls or they would not have been sued. They actually use their technologies. I'm not saying they are squeaky clean, I certainly didn't like their 1 click patent [wikipedia.org] , but they are not a complete troll.

Indeed, the genius of the pure patent troll company is that I can never be attacked in the same way it attacks. Since the troll company doesn't produce any useful products or services, there's no activity it does which could be considered for patent infringement, at least until one of them is granted a patent on enforcing patents as a business method.

Big corporations wield large portfolios of patents as weapons all the time, suing and countersuing each other when it looks like that action will help profits. While this is a very damaging abuse of the patent system, it's quite different from the type of trolling described in TFA. Also, the fact that Amazon chose to settle has little to do with how that company may have abused their patents in the past. They made a decision calculated to be best for their bottom line, whether that was a correct decision or not.

As a customer, I think it's a mistake to make broad buying decisions based solely on one aspect such as the suits described in TFA. I've been a customer of NewEgg for years because they have good prices and service and now I have yet another reason to use and recommend them. I've also been a customer of Amazon, especially of their music store which has long provided downloads unencumbered by DRM, proprietary formats or requirements to use specific client software. OTOH, I'd never use Amazon's Kindle system with its very restrictive DRM and other lock-in mechanisms.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a year ago | (#43741385)

LMOL ummm no, business makes a cost benefit analysis decision. What's the cost of going to trial versus settling? In many cases, patent trolls set the price below the cost of a trial, so businesses settle. It's all about numbers. Few companies make principled stands. Principles are great but often don't generate revenue.

What is needed is patent reform. Make it harder for a company to bring frivolous lawsuits. Make them show you the infringement, not simply say, you infringe because we have a million patents.

I'd also make the patent troll produce something from that patent - shit or get off the pot. If you are not using the patent, then you have no right in retaining it or using it against someone.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741571)

In many cases, patent trolls set the price below the cost of a trial, so businesses settle. It's all about numbers.

"And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane."
    -- Rudyard Kipling

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (2)

Golddess (1361003) | about a year ago | (#43741637)

I'm sure these companies already factored this in to the decisions they made, but it isn't just about the cost of going to trial for this one thing vs settling out of court for this one thing. You also have to factor in how many fewer patent trolls may try to entice you to settle out of court if you demonstrate that you will call their bluff and take them to court (or how many more patent trolls may come knocking when they see what easy pickings you are).

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43741731)

yep, wal mart figured this out long ago

it has a policy of fighting every lawsuit, no matter how minor. keeps all the scam artists who slip in their stores on purpose away

same thing happened decades ago with product liability suits. a few companies settled and then everyone started getting sued for all kinds of "defects"

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741799)

same thing happened decades ago with product liability suits. a few companies settled and then everyone started getting sued for all kinds of "defects"

I know, damn those Ford Pintos for blowing up when struck lightly in the rear!

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43741737)

I'd also make the patent troll produce something from that patent - shit or get off the pot. If you are not using the patent, then you have no right in retaining it or using it against someone.

Actually, this is one point I'd disagree with.

If the inventor of the patent chooses to make their own widgets, are they really making their own, or are they contracting with a Chinese factory to produce them under license? Do you require the inventor to stand on the factory line and hand-assemble each and every patented widget personally? That quickly gets silly.

So the inventor can choose to make widgets themselves, they can license the ability to make widgets to other people, or they can cash out and sell the rights to license widget-making to someone else. Just like the inventor, that someone else doesn't have to make their own widgets - instead of selling widgets they can sell licenses to make widgets.

If the inventor chose the cash-out option, that's it. They struck a deal and were paid for their invention. The law ends there. They may have struck a bad deal, they may have been swindled by a fast talker on www.help-U-sell-your-patent.com, but that's just capitalism preying on the careless, and is no different from the sale of any other goods or services.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741563)

Too bad NewEgg's return process/policies aren't nearly as good as Amazon.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741827)

Too bad NewEgg's return process/policies aren't nearly as good as Amazon.

That has to be a joke.

Re:Good show, NewEgg! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43741885)

Too bad NewEgg's return process/policies aren't nearly as good as Amazon.

But their don't-steal-ebooks-back-from-your-customers policies are certainly much more patable than the Amazon's ones.

Patent office should have to pay legal fees (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#43741341)

The patent office should have to pay the legal fees of the winning side every time a patent is defeated in court.

The patent office are the gate keepers. They are currently enabling all the patent shakedowns.

For proper control every system needs proper negative feedback. If the patent office gets money for granting patents and does not lose money for granting bogus patents they are going to grant everything under the sun to encourage more applications and more incoming money.
Only by penalizing the patent office for improper patent granting will there be a proper measure of control.

Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (3, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#43741393)

Maybe not only the patent office, but both the company that filed or bought the patent should get to pay. Not just the legal fees, but a penalty on top. That should make people consider more carefully when they buy or file a patent.

Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43741897)

Maybe not only the patent office, but both the company that filed or bought the patent should get to pay. Not just the legal fees, but a penalty on top. That should make people consider more carefully when they buy or file a patent.

Forget fining the patent office -- all that will do is reduce the funding available for patent examiners to do their jobs causing the reverse effect of letting more bad patents slip through. But a fine on the patent holder for certain kinds of invalidations sounds good to me. It is my understanding that it is the patent filer's responsibility to seek out prior art as part of the application process. If a patent is invalidated for what is essentially failure to follow the filing process correctly then I think a big fine is appropriate.

What we do not want is to turn the system into one where a big company can simply out-lawyer a small patent holder and then add insult to injury by forcing them to pay a fine too. That increased risk would discourage little guys with validly patentable inventions from filing in the first place (or force them to settle out of the court on poor terms).

Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741839)

Sorry, but this is probably the dumbest idea I've heard in a long time. The do realize the US patent office is a part of the federal government, right? You further realize that the federal government's sole source of revenue is taxes, correct? Do you realize that you are espousing that we, as the taxpayers, pay the litigation costs for a company winning a patent battle against a bogus patent?

Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | about a year ago | (#43742253)

And reduce the funding to pay for more patent examiners? So the worse they do, the worse they get. Beatings will continue until morale improves.

Some internal controls are warranted. (If n of your patents gets invalidated, you're canned and we hire somebody better to take your place.) Taking money from the gatekeeper so that he can guard the gates better isn't the way.

Re:Patent office should have to pay legal fees (1)

dweller_below (136040) | about a year ago | (#43742499)

The US PTO gets a great deal of positive feedback from granting patents. That feedback loop has spun out of control. At this point, A little negative feedback may help, but it's probably too late to keep this mechanism from consuming us all. There are just too many crappy patents.
But, I feel there is still some value in documenting this train wreck. There may be a few survivors. Or maybe someday, the children of Patent Trolls may wish to do something else. Plus, there may be isolated nations that wish to learn from our mistakes.
Here is my Google Plus page on reforming the Patent Office: https://plus.google.com/b/101806809558932714222/101806809558932714222/about [google.com]
In my opinion, the critical mistakes are:
  • We thought Patents were Progress. But, Patents don't guarantee production or innovation. They only enable lawsuits.
  • Running the US Patent Office as a cost-recovery operation is a mistake.
  • It is a mistake to organize the US Patent Office to create economic incentives to grant poor patents.
  • Scaling up the Patent Office to produce more poor quality patents is a mistake.
  • It is a mistake to grant all patents that meet minimum standards.

Miles

Lesson from primary school (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43741395)

The best way to deal with a playground bully is to punch him in the face. Even if he has his buddies with him. Even if you'll get disciplined by the school. You do that a few times, and no one will mess with you.

The same principle applies to patent trolls: Always fight if you can at all manage it.

Re:Lesson from primary school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741635)

Mod up.

Worked for me when I was a scrawny funny-accented kid two years younger than my classmates.

Or as R. G. Harper put in in 1798: "millions for defense, not a penny for tribute."

Re:Lesson from primary school (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741855)

"Two wrong don't make a right" and to prove that important point, those cowardly teachers will keep overlooking the first wrong and only punish the second wrong.

Re:Lesson from primary school (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741907)

The best way to deal with a playground bully is to punch him in the face. Even if he has his buddies with him. Even if you'll get disciplined by the school. You do that a few times, and no one will mess with you.

Unless you are in Florida. Then they'll arrest you and throw you in jail.

  • Suspended students who show up at schools have been charged with trespassing.
  • Those who throw spitballs were charged with battery.
  • Those who shouted or used profanity were accused of disrupting a school function.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-02-09/news/fl-school-arrests-jail-pipeline-20130209_1_school-arrests-show-disabled-students-school-bus [sun-sentinel.com]

Of the 12,000 students taken from school to jail by police in 2012, 67% were accused of misdemeanors, such as disorderly conduct. Oftentimes, disorderly conduct amounts to little more than a student disobeying a teacherâ(TM)s order to put away a cell phone or stop talking in class.

http://www.allgov.com/news/controversies/thousands-of-florida-students-arrested-annually-for-actions-that-used-to-merit-a-trip-to-the-principals-office-130213?news=847052 [allgov.com]

Re:Lesson from primary school (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about a year ago | (#43742261)

Who in his right mind would live in Florida ?

Re:Lesson from primary school (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43742537)

Old retirees who hate kids.

too bad its not precedential (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43741397)

i wanted to scan the opinion, but there is none. and the decision says nonprecedential.

not a lawyer but it seems this decision cannot set a legal precedent for future cases

Re:too bad its not precedential (2)

wiggles (30088) | about a year ago | (#43741553)

That's why the lawyer quoted in the article was lamenting not being able to move forward with his appeals - he keeps winning at lower levels, and the other companies drop the lawsuits because they don't want a precedent set.

Re:too bad its not precedential (3, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | about a year ago | (#43741595)

Maybe not a 'legal' precedent, but most certainly a 'social' precedent.

It tells everyone that the trolls can be taken down. Notice how the trolls are backing off of Newegg. The trolls know Newegg will fight back. The trolls know that Newegg will take out their best moneymakers. Better to go pick on somebody that won't put up a fight. Well, when the rest of the playground sees that the bully will back down if you punch him in the nose, the bully's control is greatly curtailed.

Re:too bad its not precedential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742153)

Trolls they will now skip NewEgg proceed with the next victim on their list. This victory in court does not make anybody in business safer from trolls, except NewEgg for a while.

Re:too bad its not precedential (4, Insightful)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | about a year ago | (#43741615)

i wanted to scan the opinion, but there is none. and the decision says nonprecedential.

not a lawyer but it seems this decision cannot set a legal precedent for future cases

There was no precedent to be set here. Basically, the appeal was Alcatel trying to get its favorite patent un-invalidated, and the the judges looked at the case and are basically telling Alcatel "There's nothing wrong with the lower court's decisions - it stays invalidated. Now go away and quit bothering us".

East Texas jury invalidated Alcatel-Lucent claims (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741461)

This article http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/newegg-nukes-corporate-troll-alcatel-in-third-patent-appeal-win-this-year/#p3 explains the case.

Essentially everyone had given up. The patent covered eCommerce.

NewEgg did not give up.

Newegg is no mom 'n' pop. (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#43741469)

Newegg might be smaller than Lucent, but they are still not a Mon 'n' Pop. I know that in the corporate mind anything under a thousand employees is "small business" but, face it, Newegg is not small business.

The real tragedy with patent trolls is that the *real* small business can not fight them. They can shut down a business writing innovative software with 2-3 employees just like that.

Good for Newegg, but treating it like a David vs. Goliath win is not too smart.

Suck it Lucent/Bell Labs (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741501)

I worked for ALU doing an internal start up.

While we were in stealth mode, the ex-Bell Labs "chief researchers" were desperately trying to obtain our product ideas and data mine the patent filings we'd made. What their intention was, I don't know. However, any attempts at friendly conversation failed and they actively worked to inhibit our progress - slowing funding and equipment purchase requests. They failed and we eventually won initial trial contracts with several big US telecom providers.

1 month before we came out of stealth mode and delivered prototypes to those companies, the Bell Lab's jerks orchestrated a reorg placing us under their umbrella. When we released, the ALU marketing reports trumpeted, "...another ground breaking innovation from Bell Labs!" Far from it, the @$$'s actively impeded us every step of the way until we couldn't be stopped.

The did eventually get their way though. After successful trials and initial product delivery, the "strategic acquisitions" arm of Bell Labs, elected to spend millions on start up run by the son-in-law of one of the senior VPs. Our customers were pissed, as the other product sucked in comparison and was very slow in delivering requested enhancements during the side-by-side bake off between us and them. ALU then proceeded to ship our work to a maintenance team in eastern Europe and forced us, under threat of firing for cause, to train the scabs.

ALU and Bell Labs can DIAF... Go Newegg!

Re:Suck it Lucent/Bell Labs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741837)

This did not happen. You're just a bitter troll that got laid off due to the falling economy and need someone to blame. Plus you even state you worked for ALU at the time so anything you did was effectively owned by the corp.

Consequences? (5, Interesting)

ggpauly (263626) | about a year ago | (#43741711)

What happens with the settlements that Amazon and others made over this patent? Can that money be clawed back?

 

Re:Consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741933)

Amazon will be painted in the dunce hat.

Re:Consequences? (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43742541)

Amazon gets nothing back. They entered an agreement to license the patent, irrespective of whether or not the patent was valid. That's why patent trolling works - no risk of a negative outcome (a zero outcome is still possible).

Same thing happened to Research in Motion. They were sued by NTP for patent infringement. After RIM lost the court cases and the SCotUS turned down their appeal, they were backed into a corner and forced to settle with NTP for $600+ million. Then the USPTO decided to review the patents and invalidated some of them. (They're still in the process of being reviewed AFAIK. The courts have put NTP's lawsuits against other wireless companies on hold until the review is completed. Fat lot of good that does RIM. We'll always wonder if they would have fallen as badly as they did if they had had $600 million extra to put into R&D back in 2006.)

Re:Consequences? (1, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year ago | (#43742543)

What happens with the settlements that Amazon and others made over this patent? Can that money be clawed back?

Depends on the terms of the settlement agreement. Frequently, there will be a clause that says that future royalty payments are terminated if the patents are invalidated. Rarely - as in almost never - there might be a provision to return some past payments. And similarly rarely, there are contracts where royalty payments continue even if the patent is invalidated.
The settlement is just a contract - whatever you agree to in that contract is what happens.

I love NewEgg (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year ago | (#43741825)

I loved NewEgg plenty BEFORE this, but where I rated them a 9/10 in my mind before, now they're closer to a 15/10.

And now, a shameless testimonial from a real NewEgg customer - last year I built my first PC in almost 7 years and NewEgg made the experience really easy with good pricing and an awesome "wishlist" feature that let me compile a list of parts and tally cost as a I went. I would never consider building a PC without them, I had a really positive experience building my rig with them.

Go NewEgg.

I love newegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43741951)

The other window currently has half of a new pcs parts picked out.

Maybe i'll pay for the extra fast processing today. (total bs but hey wtf)

yay newegg!

Amazon (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43742053)

So, does Amazon now get to sue Alcatel-Lucent for the amount of their settlement, as they were being extorted for greenmail on something that now doesn't exist, and isn't enforceable?

Let the blowback begin!

If you settle over an invalid patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43742113)

Are the extortion victims entitled to refunds now? It seems as though settlements based on invalid patents are made under false pretences and fraudulent. Certainly letting them keep any of the money they stole from their victims sets a very bad precedent.

Re:If you settle over an invalid patent... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43742583)

They didn't steal it. They didn't want to fight and just handed it over. They pussied out and shouldn't get squat.

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