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One Man's Battle With Patent Trolls

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

Patents 159

farrellj writes "Dovden Investments, labelled as a Patent Troll by many, got more than they bargained for when they went after Ottawa developer Larry Dunkelman. Mr. Dunkelman wrote BusBuddy, an app that takes GPS and scheduling data from OC Transpo, the local city bus service, and predicts when the bus you are waiting for will actually arrive. But when Dovden came along and asked for $10,000, as a 'licensing' fee, Dunkelman got angry, and decided to fight. 'They claim to have patented the method of using GPS location on vehicles to determine when they will arrive at a certain place,' Dunkelman said. 'This applies to buses, package delivery, airplanes, trains - any business that employs a fleet of vehicles in which they track their location to arrive at a certain place, is open to this patent troll.' Dunkelman hired an intellectual property lawyer and started chipping away at the company's claims. Dovden has since discontinued the suit and are now being chased by Dunkelman and his lawyer for legal costs."

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Back under the bridge, troll!! (5, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#44890821)

Well done, Larry. I hope more developers have a spine as stiff as yours.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (5, Insightful)

spamchang (302052) | about a year ago | (#44891077)

Make it a class action suit. Demand a list of everyone to whom Dovden has ever sent a threatening letter.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44891311)

If you're lucky when you win you'll get a voucher for a $10 discount to use for your next patent licencing deal.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891515)

the point of a class action suit wouldn't be to get everyone rich, it would be to make dovden hurt

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892261)

With the side effect of making the lawyers filing the suit rich while the people actually damaged by Dovden's actions receive a pittance.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44893061)

In other words, good news all around?

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892007)

or even better kill them, put it on tape and post it on liveleak - it has to be as violent as possible, but once you kill a couple of these trolls rest assured the rest of them will disappear quickly. Violence is the only answer.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892933)

Publicly crushing the testicles with a pair of pliers is my suggested method.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892981)

Make it a class action suit. Demand a list of everyone to whom Dovden has ever sent a threatening letter.

It's cases like this shows the stupidity of allowing software patents. Using GPS to track positional information should not be patentable, THAT'S WHAT IT WAS CREATED FOR!

I think the people who get sued for stupid patents like this one should in turn sue the patent examiner that granted the patent.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (4, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44891195)

I hope more developers have a spine as stiff as yours.

It's the only thing that can carry the load of his enormous balls.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891461)

Take them for all they're worth (admittedly they are worthless bags of scum, but take all the money they have).

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (-1, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44892105)

The best way to fight patent trolls and their lawyers is with extortion.
Find out where they live, if they have a family, what they have to lose.
Give one of his lawyers a good beating first. Break some bones.Make sure he understands the pay arrangement.
The next day, go do the troll. Don't beat him the first time.Make sure he knows his wife will be partying with you and some ethnic friends for as long as his payments are late, even if it is during her fertile cycle. Slap him down if he gets disrespectful about it. Piss on him while he lays there. Remind him not to call the cops. Light the curtains on fire by the door as you leave, so he has something to think about.
Begin collecting $$$$$. Don't forget to make good on your promises.
See it is possible to turn this patent troll thing into a positive situation, beneficial to mankind and yourself.
This business model is licensed under the LGPL and open for all.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (4, Funny)

crakbone (860662) | about a year ago | (#44893167)

Sorry. IRS has prior art.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (-1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893349)

Lets stick with civilization,. shall we? your type of thinking is outmoded, lacks thought, and undermines civilization.

Why you think you would be the only one that would do that, and that the lawyer in that ugly world you paint wouldn't pay someone to gun you done eludes me.

Re:Back under the bridge, troll!! (3, Interesting)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year ago | (#44893045)

The developer of the X-Plane flight simulator is also fighting the patent troll suing him for using a Google-approved and provided API for verifying Android purchases. He's fighting using his own money too, which lawyers have advised could cost him $1.5 million even if he wins.

They aren't the only dev who this troll is suing, though I believe they're one of the few who's actually big enough (barely) to mount a defence. Google has refused to offer legal or even token moral support for their developers, and the API is probably still in place in the latest version, a Trojan horse waiting to happen to other unsuspecting devs.

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890833)

First Post!

Re:First (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891039)

tl;dr

Basic Math... (2)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#44890843)

Distance / Speed = Time

Heck, we've probably been estimating our arrival times since we grew big enough brains to recognize a particular rock or tree.

Re:Basic Math... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890863)

Well that and when we actually started caring about time. Most people didn't so much (except for sailors) until relatively recently in human history.

Re:Basic Math... (5, Funny)

climb_no_fear (572210) | about a year ago | (#44891089)

I dunno, if a saber-toothed tiger was chasing you, you probably cared a great deal about your arrival time at the nearest climbable tree or such.

Re:Basic Math... (1)

climb_no_fear (572210) | about a year ago | (#44891091)

And of course, his...

Re:Basic Math... (5, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44891229)

Only relatively speaking. Nobody much cared whether they became tiger poop at 4P.M or 5P.M. but arriving at the climbable tree before the tiger was of great interest.

Re:Basic Math... (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44891773)

Uhhh... Tigers can climb trees. Estimating the weight of a rock big enough to pin the tiger's tail, may have been more useful.

Re:Basic Math... (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#44891813)

It beggers the question, How did we survive before there was an app for that?

Re:Basic Math... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#44892303)

I guess somebody wrote an app. That's how we evolved into app-writers.

Re:Basic Math... (3, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#44892573)

I was expecting, "There's an Ape for that"

Re:Basic Math... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893377)

You should ave just said it, it's hilarious.

Re:Basic Math... (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44892281)

human beings arent that much changed from prehistory. early nomadic human tribes would have still cared about arrival time, even if not to the precision we care about today. following a herd thats headed to water, you dont want to get their after theyve already moved on, in fact you probably want to get there first so you can setup the ambush before they arrive. or if moving to new hunting grounds when the season changes, you probably want to get there before winter sets in. or if its the rut (prime hunting season) you dont want to miss that, it's easy pickings.

anyway...point is: its not that relatively new. its really a very old concern.
all that's changed is the accuracy and resolution of the time that we care about.

Re:Basic Math... (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about a year ago | (#44893259)

We estimate arrival times all the time, albeit subconsciously: whenever you walk or run, you do not consciously monitor your legs, you mindlessly execute a well-timed walk cycle based on estimations from observable surface conditions and when your estimations are too far off the mark, you trip. When you move to grab a glass on the counter and fail to correctly estimate your hand's acceleration and deceleration, you knock the glass over instead of grabbing it.

We do estimations with nearly every single movement we make.

Re:Basic Math... (1)

smallfries (601545) | about a year ago | (#44891127)

This is actually a pretty shit way of doing it; vehicles rarely hold a constant speed. If you build a database of locations and times for a vehicle doing the same route repeatedly then a more appropriate calculation is the median travel time from the given location.

Re: Basic Math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892003)

Ya mean like the schedule? The point of using GPS is to see when the bus is gonna be late.

Courts should stamp this out (5, Insightful)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about a year ago | (#44890873)

Dovden asked for $10,000. There was probably only a 1 in 1000 chance someone would fight and win. Dovden knew for certain that their patent wasn't innovative; this was no honest misunderstanding. Any damages less than $10000 * 1000 = $10,000,000 makes this a profitable business model.

Any ruling fining Dovden less than $10,000,000 is not enough.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (5, Insightful)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about a year ago | (#44890903)

And I'm going to reply to myself. And every lawyer involved in sending these notices should lose their license.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#44890925)

Hear hear! And any damn judge dum enough to let the case even go through without alerting the patttent office and slamming these guys with fines for misuse of the legal system. Fraud. And abuse of government entities in order to harass and whatever else they can muster up.

These people can go to jail. And they can let out a few prostitutes.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893453)

sigh.
No. Go through the procedure the bar already has in place. They keep it up they loose their license. Possible civil issues.

We need to put less people in jail, not more.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44890955)

And be personally liable for some of the damages.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890975)

And their pets should be sent to the pound!

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44891597)

And the pound should be threatened with foreclosure by an evil developer.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (2)

JosKarith (757063) | about a year ago | (#44891717)

And the developer's wife should leave him and take him to the cleaners in the divorce courts.

Wait... what were we talking about again?

Re:Courts should stamp this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892661)

Is his ex wife hot?

Re:Courts should stamp this out (5, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44891021)

A customer of ours was recently sent an "about to call debt collectors" letter for an invoice for toner cartridges they hadn't bought. The scammer had done their homework - they had called previously claiming to be from the "federal government" doing a survey on printers so they knew exactly what type of toner the customer would have bought. We called the ACCC and were basically told that if money had actually been paid then we could try the feds and see if they would do anything, but otherwise they weren't going to do anything.

The fact that the scammers were getting away with this sort of shit with basically no risk at all made me quite angry. Stories like TFA make me feel a little better about the world.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44891047)

Yeah, same happened to me. Someone was doing a "dead relative" scam attempt on me, and I got info about them. Passed it to the FBI cybercrimes fraud division (or the group that indicated they were responsible, if there is no specific division for that), and they got back to me with the message "if you haven't actually lost money on it, go away. If you have lost money on it, you are an idiot, go away". So long as crimes aren't investigated because they are "inconvenient", we'll have escalation in crimes, in both severity and quantity.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (5, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#44891103)

They got teenagers with quarter ounces of weed to imprision, stop wasting their valuable property seizure time.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (5, Insightful)

BenfromMO (3109565) | about a year ago | (#44892653)

Police departments of all stripes can make more money for their departments through property seizure, so why would they waste time with actual criminals which actually costs them money?

The second we allowed as a society police departments to confiscate individuals' wealth was the second we lost our way as a society. It does not help that tickets and other roadside violations are also money that goes to the local police department directly. And so we have police in this country whose jobs are directly depended on outside revenue streams and so their employers are no longer every citizen, but rather those who they imprison and fine. They are constantly looking for additional people to finance their jobs like that. And what does all of this money that they confiscate give them? Military level arms, body armor, and all sorts of little toys that make breaking into someone's house a quite large ordeal. So next time someone "swats you" you can thank the illegal confiscations and mountains of traffic violations that made it possible for semi-trained idiots to go around with military level machine guns and body armor.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893501)

where? where is some in a federal prison for this? any citations at all? no?

Re:Courts should stamp this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892683)

A year ago, I sat in on a presentation from the FBI cybercrime unit (Twin Cities.) They're overworked, understaffed, and quite honestly, unless there's a large chunk of money in play (not just potentially,) they don't have the resources to pursue it.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891449)

You absolutely can call the Federal Trade Commission and report it. They need to get lots of reports to figure out who is worth going after.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44891605)

One more reason not to participate in surveys.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891697)

Did they send this invoice via the United States Postal Service? A Demonstrably untrue invoice?
You sir were clearly not paying attention during the movie "The Firm".

I believe that you or anyone else in receipt of such a communication should contact their USPS Mail Fraud team.
 

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44893557)

A customer of ours was recently sent an "about to call debt collectors" letter for an invoice for toner cartridges they hadn't bought. The scammer had done their homework - they had called previously claiming to be from the "federal government" doing a survey on printers so they knew exactly what type of toner the customer would have bought. We called the ACCC and were basically told that if money had actually been paid then we could try the feds and see if they would do anything, but otherwise they weren't going to do anything.

The fact that the scammers were getting away with this sort of shit with basically no risk at all made me quite angry. Stories like TFA make me feel a little better about the world.

You should hop on the popehat.com web site. He talks about this scam and a couple of others in a few of his articles.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891053)

I'm curious. Could you sue someone in the amount of "$infinity". The idea being that you're not really after the money, but forcing them into bankruptcy while taking whatever cash they have as an extra bonus.

Re:Courts should stamp this out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891545)

It is simple blackmail, that they discontinued the suit once he started to fight back tells the whole story, they know they have nothing

donation box (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44890881)

Does he have a donation box? I've donated to causes much less worthy.

Re:donation box (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44891049)

Does he have a donation box? I've donated to causes much less worthy.

Count me in. I want to see Dovden hunted down and made an example of. Perhaps, if Dunkelman doesn't want to solicit external funds, the next worthy Troll Slayer should seek funds on Kickstarter or similar website for the express purpose of making an example of the troll in particular.

Greed knows no limit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890883)

Not surprised. Patent trolls apparently don't understand the idea of limits, and they're currently hitting people's tolerance.

Go after the lawyers, too. (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#44890921)

Any lawyer who aids a patent troll ought to be disbarred.

Re:Go after the lawyers, too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891005)

Before or after being disemboweled?

Re:Go after the lawyers, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891051)

After, of course. But not before being patched up so he can be disemboweled again after he's disbarred.

Re:Go after the lawyers, too. (3, Interesting)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about a year ago | (#44891623)

A lawyer should be allowed to defend any person, against any charge, against any evidence, without any fear of legal repercussion.

I would prefer the more objective approach, "any lawyer who aids in sending out frivolous (read: obviously going to be overturned) patent notices should be disbarred."

I imagine it wouldn't be impossible for something like that to find its way into some legislation.

Re:Go after the lawyers, too. (3, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44892425)

WE DO NOT NEED MORE LAWS!

Felony conviction is cause for disbarment in most jurisdictions.

If an attorney aids and abets fraud, extortion, or is criminally negligent in defending/prosecuting a case, then fucking charge and convict them of -that- crime. They will still be disbarred, and we will actually be prosecuting crimes that matter, instead of letting those with money and power flout the system so egregiously.

Re:Go after the lawyers, too. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893531)

You have no idea why attorney are important, nor do you have any idea why that would pretty much turn over everything to corporation overnight.

You are a clueless irrational idiot who screams 'solutions' to problems you don't understand.

Things change, new laws will always be needed.
The lawyer isn't doing anything illegal. This isn't fraud or extortion.

Costs (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year ago | (#44890933)

Are patent suit costs in Canada paid for by the losing party? This is one of the big problems in the US - each side usually pays its own costs, even when the patentee loses.

Re:Costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891069)

Ah, the great American justice system.

Both sides pay, then the winner has to file a counter suit against the loser for compensation and losses.

So the lawyers get to cash in all over again...

Re:Costs (1)

jittles (1613415) | about a year ago | (#44892727)

Ah, the great American justice system.

Both sides pay, then the winner has to file a counter suit against the loser for compensation and losses.

So the lawyers get to cash in all over again...

Depends on the state and the laws being violated. I just recently settled a lawsuit with my landlord. I was the defendant, the landlord obviously the plaintiff. They sued me to take possession of the property (AKA for eviction). I counter-sued them for failure to maintain the property in compliance with state and county health and safety codes, as well as other damages. In that case, the loser pays all costs no matter what (unless a settlement stipulates otherwise). It's automatic. And I was looking at tens of thousands of dollars in damages if I lost. Since the owner of the property is not very bright, and since I was in complete compliance with state law, they agreed to pay all my costs and to give me a 33% rent abatement for the period of the lawsuit. Had we gambled in court, I could have received up to $15,000 plus legal fees. Or I could have ended up paying $5000 plus legal fees (my own included).

In many civil areas the loser pays. I think patents are treated differently because the Federal government has not adopted a loser pays system.

Re:Costs (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893545)

A loser pay system in patents would destroy it for the very people it should be helping.

Re:Costs (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891179)

Serious answer here, IAAL in Canada. Yes, in Ontario the losing side pays costs to the winning side. However, "costs" is awarded according to procedures in the court rules, and it doesn't actually represent the literal legal costs of the winning party. Court awarded "costs" usually end up being around a third of actual legal costs, but it's still a penalty for the loser. Going by the summary (haven't read the original article yet), I imagine that Dovden will oppose costs because they unilaterally discontinued the action before the court could dismiss the action with costs awarded against them. A plaintiff discontinuing its action is usually seen by defendants as a good thing, so normally costs aren't awarded in these cases.

Re:Costs (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#44893575)

Dropping the suit, but continuing to pursue others for the same patent, is evidence that they are committing fraud. I believe that in the US, there have been cases where MPAA did this "drop the lawsuit" thing and was later forced to pay legal costs anyway.

Re:Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891239)

Only in very exceptional cases, it's very rare litigation costs are covered in Canada.

Can someone explain... (2)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#44890935)

IANAL as will be pretty evident from this confused series of questions, but from the article: 'They claim to have patented the method of using GPS location on vehicles to determine when they will arrive at a certain place,'

So, did they patent it or not? And if they did, then who the hell approved it as a valid innovation???!
If they didn't patent it then it's just a case of straight up fraud isn't it? Conversely, if they do actually hold this patent, then isn't just as clear cut that this poor guy is infringing it - no matter how ridiculous that seems? The article seems to suggest that they are now reviewing whether the patent is valid or not - but once a patent is granted doesn't that automatically mean it's valid too?

Re:Can someone explain... (2)

a.koepke (688359) | about a year ago | (#44891037)

Just because a patent is granted doesn't mean it is valid, it just means you have paid some fees to register your "innovation". Unfortunately, the patent offices get a lot of applications and have been working in "rubber stamp" mode for quite a while. You put your application in, pay your fees and get a rubber stamp on it. Done. There is no real review of the validity of the patent anymore, that stuff just took to long.

The patent office's approach is to approve almost everything and let the lawyers, judges and courts sort out what is valid or not.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44891105)

Stupid and incompetent, but true :(

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#44891119)

I see. Thankyou. What a depressing situation.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44893559)

It would be if it was remotely true.

Re:Can someone explain... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891171)

Yes. The system is horribly broken.

I suggest a fix: Every patent you are granted is free. Every patent that you are denied costs you. The cost is a sliding scale, the faster the patent office finds a triviality, or previous art, the more it costs the customer. The pantent office has to give the reasons why the patent was rejected, along with the bill. This should a) give the patent office some money, b) reduce the patentload, which means more time per patent for patent office. This creates a balance; patent office has to reject shittty patents to get money, but they have to keep granting good patents, orherwise people will stop filing (which might be a win for society in itself), and they are out of a job.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44891389)

I suggest a fix: Every patent you are granted is free. Every patent that you are denied costs you.

They're granting everything that lands on their desk.

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891979)

That's the point. When the patent office is an office that needs to make money, granting everything means they don't make any money. Where as actually doing their job examining the patents would make them money from all the crap patents they can reject.

Kinda like paying your test department for every bug they find, rather than paying them for how much code they can rubber stamp without finding any bugs. One encourages them to do their job, the other encourages them to not do their job.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#44892363)

But then you get big companies taking the shotgun approach: many applications (they have much more money than independent inventors), and speculating on the patent office not being able to find prior art in some of them.

I have some variation on that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891791)

- You apply for a patent.

- The problem statement (without your solution) is presented to ten independent experts versed on the subject matter (they get paid appropriately for that, see below).

- Note the number of experts which've come up with a solution infringing on your patent (this number will be higher the more obvious/well-known your solution to the problem is). Let this be n

- You are due a base price (say 100 dollars) times 4^n (i.e. if no expert touched your solution, it's 100 dollars, if all 10 experts hit, it's ~100 million. Besides, for n>=5 you don't get granted the patent (but you still have to cough up the money).

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44892053)

This is the single most insightful comment I have read this month.

Indeed, this might just work! Definitely, anything might be better than the mess it is now, but this is good stuff. Keep on mentioning this idea, and hopefully someday it might stick!

-Evert- ( too lazy to go log in to get rid of AC )

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44893211)

How about this for a fix: The first "x" number of patents are free to a company/individual. The next "y" number have some minimal cost to (a) apply for and (b) yearly maintain. After that, patent application and yearly maintenance cost more than a minimal cost.

So you end up having something like:
Patent #0 through 50: Free to apply for and maintain.
Patent #50 through 250: $100 application fee and $25 yearly renewal to maintain your patent.
Patents #250+: $1000 application fee $250 yearly renewal.

Patent hoarding should decrease. It may not stop all of the patent trolls since they can still have their portfolios of 50 free patents they can sue on, but those patents should end up being one's they feel are important enough to keep. The others would either need to be sold off or would lapse if the yearly fee is not paid. The same goes for the "innovation companies". They would have to either keep the patents they feel are important or have to pay to have a large portfolio or patents. This would provide a revenue stream to the patent office as well as cut down on petty patents.
The biggest caveat in this is to make sure the rules are such that a single person/company cannot create 100 shell companies to get around these rules.

New Law Idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890951)

This patent would cover every GPS with a display of time to destination. Including those in airlplanes. Of course airplanes had Delco Carousel which was an Inertial navigation system that included many GPS like features such as way points, time to destination, etc. Anyway my new law would be one that made it so that if a patent case is brought against a small company but that patent is clearly being violated by several larger companies. The small company should be able to differ the suit under that bases that none of the larger companies have yet reach a licensing deal or lost a patent case. This would end almost all of these patent trolls because they know they can't win a case against Google or even Garmin. I don't have legal degree to write it properly but I think someone could this and run with.

--zerodata

Re:New Law Idea? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#44890971)

The problem is that anyone who has gone through the effort and expense of obtaining a law degree will want to use it to make a profit, and something like what you describe would, by design, reduce opportunities for this.

Re:New Law Idea? (3, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44891111)

Yes.
ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) has been used since long before we had computers.
Linking a patent to doing an ETA calculation based on location/vector data from a GPS is kind of like getting a patent for shoes if the cows the leather was made out of were grass fed.

Larry should go after the PTO for issuing a patent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44890977)

... for hardship. Sue for a billion $ to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Re:Larry should go after the PTO for issuing a pat (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44891261)

Mod parent up!

The patent office was derelict in it's duty AND fraudulently represented to both the plaintiff and defendant that the patent was valid even though it had (obviously) given it no more than a cursory glance. As a result, both sides ended up in a needless court battle.

Multiply by every stupid patent lawsuit anywhere.

Legal costs and more (1)

mendax (114116) | about a year ago | (#44890981)

You know, it's all well and good that these trolls can be forced to pay legal costs and other damages, but it really ought to be illegal to knowingly enforce a bad patent. The lawyers prosecuting these suits can be referred to the bar for disciplinary action. If lawyers started to be disbarred or even fined by the courts, the latter is within the power of the court, these things would stop very fast.

Re:Legal costs and more (4, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44891013)

What you are looking for here is something related to barratry [wikipedia.org] . I wish such a concept actually applied in U.S. federal courts, although there are several states that have become enlightened enough that it does apply to those state court systems.

Even more important, I wish judges would actually enforce such a concept and disbar those who abuse the system. Unfortunately, in the "real world" you don't tend to find things so clear cut and lawyers being complete jerks. Usually they know at what point they are going to cross over the line and try to stay on the proper side of that line, even if they may tend to push those limits from time to time. It takes a real idiot of a lawyer who doesn't know the laws of their own profession.

Do it right, canucks (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44891057)

Waterboard the clowns. If you don't know how, send them over to us and we'll take care of them at Gitmo.

Re:Do it right, canucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44891149)

Waterboarding doesnt work with trolls.

Fire or acid is the best method for dealing with them. Personally, I would go with a mixture of NAPthenic acid, PALMitic acid, and some form of accelerant, such as petrol.

Re:Do it right, canucks (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44891789)

It is a Canadian case. You'll have to snow board them.

Patent Troll should have known better (2)

tonfagun (1410889) | about a year ago | (#44891141)

Hardly surprising. Even a patent troll should know better than going after a guy whose name translates to The Dark Man.

Okay, I admit, I added the definite article for effect, but the rest is true. Source: I'm German

Sensible long term thinking. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44891209)

It's short sighted for others not to do this. If you give in to extortion, then surely that just opens you up to futher extortion.

Crowdfunding against patent trolls. (1)

gmpassos (1193401) | about a year ago | (#44891301)

How about a crowdfunding site only to fight back patent trolls?

Not to be that Internet Toughguy (1)

wadeal (884828) | about a year ago | (#44891607)

But if I were a struggling developer or such and had a patent troll try this on me, with the only option to defend myself at my cost with no real hope of getting money back, I'd be very inclined to instead find the people behind this and make it very clear they wouldn't see a cent.

Why has this not happened yet? I want to see that news story, just to send a message to the rest of these vampires.

Unlikely to get court/lawyer costs awarded (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#44892285)

In the USA, the plaintiff is extremely unlikely to get court and attorney fees awarded, even when the other side has been a complete douchebag. My best friend is an attorney and he explained to me that judges almost never award court and attorney costs, even when the lawsuit should never have happened, because they are afraid that doing so will make people afraid of bringing legitimate cases to court because they might have to pay the other side's fees if they lose. Yes, fees are awarded sometimes in very egregious cases, but these are the exception.

Except Marshall, TX (2)

Macchendra (2919537) | about a year ago | (#44892517)

We should draw up versions of all the popular software licenses, (MIT, BSD, GPL, etc.) that specifically exclude the patent troll town of Marshall, TX or even Harrison county, where many of the patent trolls file because of their "plaintiff friendly" juries. The town has benefited from all of the trolling, and they've set themselves up a little local industry for it. Let them do it without software. Maybe name it the Yee-Haw(R) license.

Good on him, but... (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a year ago | (#44893263)

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/took+patent+troll/8921261/story.html [ottawacitizen.com]
"Dunkelman doesn't charge for his popular BusBuddy app, but it does include some advertising, which grosses him about $200 a month. If you factor in the cost of computers, programming software and the rest of his expenses, he figures it makes "a few dollars. That's it: a few dollars." It would take years to pay Dovden's $10,000 claim."

"He hired lawyer Geoff North"

Pull the other one lol.
But fair play to him, regardless.

Tiny Victory (1)

skywire (469351) | about a year ago | (#44893471)

Sadly, this case never reached the merits of the troll's ludicrous patent on the obvious.

Careful. This might be a "hate" crime (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#44893485)

Larry might want to proceed with caution because some patent trolls would have us believe that calling them patent trolls is a "hate crime" and therefore punishable by a huge fine payable to said patent trolls.

http://boingboing.net/2013/09/17/patent-trolls-lumen-view-ca.html [boingboing.net]

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