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Judge Orders Patent Troll To Explain Its 'Mr. Sham' To Jury

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the that-name-again-is-mr.-sham dept.

Patents 117

netbuzz writes "Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has no problem calling Network Protection Sciences (NPS) a patent troll. What he does have a problem with is NPS telling a Texas court that NPS had an 'ongoing business concern' in that state run by a 'director of business development' when all it really had was a rented file-cabinet room and the 'director' was actually the building landlord who merely signed legal papers when NPS told him to do so. Judge Alsup calls the alleged business a 'sham' and the non-employee 'Mr. Sham,' yet he declined to dismiss the patent infringement lawsuit filed by NPS against Fortinet from which this information emerged. Instead, he told NPS, 'this jury is going to hear all of this stuff about the closet. And you're going to have to explain why "Mr. Sham" was signing these documents.'"

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Too bad (5, Insightful)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about a year ago | (#44954677)

Too bad there were not any judges like this overseeing the mortgage sham bubble.

Re:Too bad (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44955017)

Too bad there were not any judges like this overseeing the mortgage sham bubble.

Yeah, like Judge Roy Bean, the law west of the Pecos.

Re:Too bad (2, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#44955189)

Bad example, IMO, I'd rather have the current judge. He's letting them hang themselves. Bean was simply a murderer with a posse. Hanged dozens of completely innocent people.

Re:Too bad (3, Informative)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about a year ago | (#44955337)

The wiki suggests you need to learn the difference between Hollywood and history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Bean [wikipedia.org]

Re:Too bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44957415)

...learn the difference between Hollywood and history...

Why should he? He's American!

Re:Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44960907)

Why was this flamebait modded up???

Re:Too bad (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#44958305)

wow, what a piece of work. Truth is almost as insane and disgusting as the legend... when challeneged to a shooting match, the implication being over a woman, he wanted to make it a duel? Plus:

Bean did not allow hung juries or appeals,[9] and jurors, who were chosen from his best bar customers, were expected to buy a drink during every court recess.[10] Bean was known for his unusual rulings. In one case, an Irishman named Paddy O'Rourke shot a Chinese laborer. A mob of 200 angry Irishmen surrounded the courtroom and threatened to lynch Bean if O'Rourke was not freed. After looking through his law book, Bean ruled that "homicide was the killing of a human being; however, he could find no law against killing a Chinaman".[9] Bean dismissed the case.[9]

No hung juries or appeals? And jurors were customers of his? Sounds legit. At least that Chinaman comment can be said to have been a statement made under duress with a mob of 200 angry men at his door; I could see that being quite a motivator to get creative.

Oh then he moves his saloon, can't attract business and the claim is that a competitor laced his whisky with kerosene? Seems an odd sort of thing to not prosecute, destruction of property and all.

Then he moves again....

O'Rourke, the Irishman Bean had previously acquitted, told Bean to use the railroad right-of-way, which was not covered by the contract. For the next 20 years, Bean squatted on land he had no legal right to claim

a picture is emerging for me here...

Langtry did not have a jail, so all cases were settled by fines. Bean refused to send the state any part of the fines, but instead kept all of the money. In most cases, the fines were made for the exact amount in the accused's pockets...... He continued to be elected until 1896. Even after that defeat, he "refused to surrender his seal and law book and continued to try all cases north of the tracks".

... of a raging narcisist.

Re:Too bad (4, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44955433)

Are you kidding? The banks are a full on mafia operation, like the Borgias in the Vatican (original storyline for The Godfather), absolutely untouchable. Cross them, and you won't see the next sunrise. This guy is a flea, like Bernie Madoff.

Re: Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956015)

too bad the judge is going to have to keep his mouth shut during the trial.
And the lawyers will make perfect sense to the morons that show up for jury duty.
Of course there is no way the big mouth judge will be able to keep his mouth shut and if " Mr. Sham" plays his cards right will get a hefty salary increase as the poor CEO who fearlessly leads his company through a ten year appealls process.

Give them the Mongol treatment (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44957593)

Ghengis Khan is said to have said: it's not enough that we win, they must lose. Seems the only way to deal with patent trolls.

Re:Give them the Mongol treatment (1)

devaudio (596215) | about a year ago | (#44960177)

I thought Mother Theresa said that?

Wish I could buy that judge a beer (5, Interesting)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | about a year ago | (#44954685)

William Alsup deserves a medal for finally pushing those trolls a little. Too long have they been getting away with venue shopping and the abusive use of threats to sue. Time to sit back and watch the fireworks...

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955361)

William Alsup deserves a medal for finally pushing those trolls a little. Too long have they been getting away with venue shopping and the abusive use of threats to sue. Time to sit back and watch the fireworks...

When this becomes the de facto standard on manhandling shell company tactics like this in a courtroom, complete with prior case law to ensure it, then I'll break out the bubbly.

Until then, don't even consider this to garner the masses attention span for longer than the usual 17 seconds they give it. And we will still watch multi-billionaires get away with financial murder, laughing all the way to the bank with their government subsidized too-big-to-fail bonus checks, not giving two fucks about anyone they leave in their wake.

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44955417)

However consider if you were on the Jury. Would you want to stick around another week or month to listen to this stuff, without being paid, just so that the judge can teach the guy a lesson?

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (4, Informative)

kenshin33 (1694322) | about a year ago | (#44955455)

yes, where de I signe ?

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (4, Funny)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44956105)

yes, where de I signe ?

Did you happen to visit a loveli lake in Sweden circa 1975 and do you have a brother?

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44957083)

... mind you, mööse bit Karyn hard...

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (2)

QuadPro (16532) | about a year ago | (#44958551)

No, but a moose once bit my sister...

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955625)

If you're going to be on a jury, you might as well get to do some justice.

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (2)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44955681)

If you DID want to, would you even make it past voir dire?

Re:Wish I could buy that judge a beer (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about a year ago | (#44958147)

Considering how important this is, YES!I would listen, openly and honestly, then vote to hang the guy. :P

Seriously though, I'd serve on that jury gladly and do my best to be fair and decide based on issues of law and evidence presented, not my own preconceptions.

Of course, it's easy for me to say - I'm a geek, this is important, and my company has a pretty good jury duty policy.

William Alsup for Supreme Court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44960633)

Finally, a judge with common sense.

Go Judge (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about a year ago | (#44954701)

People need to hear how these people do business. I imagine the jury will have no problem not awarding this patent troll anything. I wish cases like this were on CourtTV instead of stuff like the People's Court, Divorce Court, and Judge Judy.

Re:Go Judge (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955129)

Actually, at the end of the day, the judge will instruct the jury in the relevant law. He'll let the jury know that these people are trolling asshats, but that what they are doing is legal and that they have to follow the law. They will win something. It won't be huge though because the jury will have been turned against the troll. The troll will then appeal based on, "but the judge tainted the jury". And they will win their appeal. Because at the end of the day, just because they are scum, doesn't mean they are doing anything illegal.

Re:Go Judge (4, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year ago | (#44955751)

Actually, it isn't. Filing a patent infringement lawsuit on a patent you don't own is very much not legal, which is why they tried so hard to hide that fact. So no, they likely won't get money. And the lawyer representing NPS will be lucky if he isn't disbarred.

Re:Go Judge (3)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44957599)

And the lawyer representing NPS will be lucky if he isn't disbarred.

I like the world you describe and would like to know how to get there. :)

Re:Go Judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44958017)

Enter through the wardrobe.

Re:Go Judge (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year ago | (#44960087)

Actually, it isn't. Filing a patent infringement lawsuit on a patent you don't own is very much not legal, which is why they tried so hard to hide that fact. So no, they likely won't get money. And the lawyer representing NPS will be lucky if he isn't disbarred.

If you read the judge's order, the ownership issue isn't so cut and dried, which is why he denied Fortinet's motion to dismiss for lack of standing.

Specifically, MPH signed a contract assigning the patent to NPS on day X. NPS filed suit on day Y. NPS signed the contract on day Z. Under Texas contract law, the contract need not be signed by NPS if there's mutual assent of the parties. This is actually a common provision - in many states, contracts only need to be signed by the person the contract is going to be enforced against. So, for example, if MPH wasn't going to enforce the contract against NPS ("take my property or I'll sue you to force you to take my property"?), then it didn't need a signature. Anyways, in Texas, that mutual assent can be shown by conduct of the parties, including NPS filing suit on day Y.

In other words, if the jury looks at the contract and determines that both MPH and NPS believed that, as of day Y, NPS owned the patent, then NPS did own the patent on that day, and there's no lack of standing.

And as long as that argument exists (and frankly, it's not a bad argument, because who can reasonably believe that an internal transfer from a company to a shell company didn't have assent of both companies?), then the lawyer can't possibly be disbarred for it.

Re:Go Judge (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44956619)

But the judge can also tell the jury the reason for explaining Mr. Sham is for them to determine if NPS really has "an ongoing concern" in the Eastern District of Texas.

If not, then the case is closed - the court has no jurisdiction as NPS is not properly located there.

The jury has to make the decision to see if the case is even valid.

Re:Go Judge (1)

billstewart (78916) | about a year ago | (#44957065)

It's going to be awfully tough for the judge not to punctuate his instructions to the jury with the occasional "Bwahahahah!", because the patent trolls are so far over the line they're going to get stomped.

Re:Go Judge (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955233)

I imagine the jury will have no problem not awarding this patent troll anything.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

We've heard from Judge Alsup before (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954705)

He was also the trial judge in Oracle v. Google.

I think I like the guy.

I don't remember what else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954775)

But he's been in other tech cases recently besides these two as well.

Re:We've heard from Judge Alsup before (5, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44956857)

He's the guy who pointed out the he could write rangeCheck, and that he'd have written it identically.

Re:We've heard from Judge Alsup before (2)

RCL (891376) | about a year ago | (#44957293)

I imagine he might be reading slashdot and enjoying all this =)

Re:We've heard from Judge Alsup before (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44959031)

I hope once this trial concludes we can get an Ask Slashdot with him.

Lessons learned. (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44954743)

... when all it really had was a rented file-cabinet room and the 'director' was actually the building landlord ...

Don't cheap out on the props for your cover story.

Mr Sham was signing the documents (3, Funny)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#44954747)

because Miss Swindle was stuck in meetings.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (-1, Offtopic)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#44954837)

because Miss Swindle was stuck in meetings.

Either that, or she was constantly getting stuck in meetings and was too busy moaning to pay attention to something as unimportant as signing her name.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955401)

why in the fuck is this drivel at +3

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44955563)

Because it's funny, moron. Go back to 4chan.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955615)

It's spelled "moran", dipshot.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956339)

-1, Wrong.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#44954925)

And Mrs. Sham was out shopping with friends.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (5, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year ago | (#44955553)

And Mrs. Sham was out shopping with friends.

Really? Mrs. Sham? Wow.

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956289)

Made in Germany, you know the germans always make good stuff!

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44956863)

Really? Mrs. Sham? Wow.

Vince has a wife?

Re:Mr Sham was signing the documents (3, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44957547)

And in a twist, it turns out that Mr. Sham and Miss. Swindle were in fact the names of legitimate business partners in "Patent Trolls" - a legitimate trading name for a division dealing with IP licencing for fishing equipment - and were based in Phony house, Fake Steet, Scamton, TX.

Anyone find the audio (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#44954749)

I would like to listen to the audio. It must be very interesting. Anyone has a link?

Re:Anyone find the audio (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955635)

WHY? (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44956155)

Why did you do that? Why did you give that "guy" a link. He's obviously a CAT!

Anyone has a link?

Mark my words, he'll come back around here asking for cheezburgers any minute now. DO NOT FEED STRAYS!

Mr. Sham is called to the stand (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954783)

For the record, please state your name. "Sam T. Sham". Now, Mr. Sham, can you explain why you signed those documents? Yes, your honor A " Wooly Bully [wikipedia.org] made me do it".

Is this Judge Judy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954799)

Because she's the only Judge that I've heard about that understands logic. Well done good sir, I tip my hat and bid you good day.

Re:Is this Judge Judy? (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44954899)

I'm guessing that the reason you think she understands logic is because you've only heard about her, rather than having actually heard her. She is a straight moron who jumps to conclusions based on zero facts and then uses them to form psuedo-logical conclusions based upon pure rationalizations. I have never seen a more ridiculous person who could best be described as a bad caricature of herself in all my life.

Re:Is this Judge Judy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954985)

You're right, that show typically plays when the working class is at work so it's not something I would willingly go out of my way to watch on a day off. But nevertheless, Judge William Alsup needs to keep doing what he's doing because he's becoming a legend already and we need legends in the battle against software patents and patent trolls.

Re:Is this Judge Judy? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year ago | (#44958591)

I second that emotion.

Re:Is this Judge Judy? (5, Informative)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year ago | (#44955243)

She's not a "Judge," or at least not any more. She's an arbiter/celebrity. The "trials" on that show aren't real trials, they're arbitration with a contractual agreement not to pursue further arbitration elsewhere.

And, yes, she can be extremely biased and unprofessional. It's easy to do when you stack the "docket" with the worst human scum you can find.

/mourn Groklaw (5, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#44954859)

It's cases like this that make me miss Groklaw even more. They'd have someone there in the court to report on all this, and explain the legal shenanigans going on, with links to prior cases of the people involved trying the same thing, and probably how Microsoft is funding them!

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44954877)

Make up your mind Mr. Sham. Are you Mr. Doh or Miss Groklaw?

Re:/mourn Groklaw (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954923)

Groklaw started off well, but ultimately they turned into something they were supposedly against. It became so that everything they wrote was laced with bias, conspiracy theories and opinion rather than just commenting on the facts and merits of the cases.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44954973)

and so the AC bs continues. You are probably one of the potty mouths that got spanked.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955015)

nope just someone that has already modded comments and didn't want to invalidate my mod points. I miss Groklaw too, but what it was, not what it became.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955165)

Groklaw was always filled with opinions. In the beginning it was simple because everyone hated MS and there proxies. But when Apple showed its true colors, that's when things got messy. People love for the products overrode their disdain for Apples douche-bag corporate behavior and for some it didn't.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955991)

Groklaw started off well, but ultimately they turned into something they were supposedly against. It became so that everything they wrote was laced with bias, conspiracy theories and opinion rather than just commenting on the facts and merits of the cases.

What an inconveniently large consignment of bovine excrement.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | about a year ago | (#44954939)

Does anyone know what happened to the effort to modernize / replace groklaw? In order to overcome PJ's concerns?

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955301)

What were her concerns? That the NSA had info that was posted on GrokLaw? If that's the stated reason, I'm calling bullshit. It's fucking OSINT at that point.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956267)

No, the concern was that NSA was reading private e-mail that was not posted and was not public in any way.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956501)

No, the concern was that NSA was reading private e-mail that was not posted and was not public in any way.

How does that concern keep one from running a blog?

If I was 100% certain I was being actively investigated by the feds, I would still run a blog.
If I was 100% certain I was not being actively investigated but my communications could possibly wind up collected by some state's intelligence operations, well why should I give a fuck? I would still run the blog.

I've got plenty to hide, just nothing a state would have any concern about. I'm not violating any federal laws, and If I was, the issue is with the laws.. and enforcement of them. There's nothing you can do to keep other people from knowing things, for example, the second party to your communications could volunteer everything to a third party and there is no general legal protection for that.
Knowing things... isn't a crime or injustice, and that goes waaaaaaaay beyond intelligence gathering.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44958369)

This is pretty much the problem. Once she realized the extent of the NSA spying regime, she decided she was too traumatized to continue (likening it to a burglary she had previously experienced, where she felt that all her possessions had been tainted) and ran away from it all.

On the one hand, you could call her a coward, on the other hand, you could say that she was too emotionally fragile to continue. Either conclusion is pretty sad.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#44960771)

In that case, SHE has standing against the NSA. *SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE WHO REGULARLY USED GROKLAW, ESPECIALLY PROFESSIONALLY*, or am I wrong? Weren't we all concerned that there was nobody who the courts would determine had standing, who could sue the NSA for their abuses and continual violation of the US constitution?

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44958401)

Given the topics the blog covered and some of the things she posted, I assume she got a fair bit of inside info she can't/doesn't publish. Not wanting to expose those kind of sources is perfectly reasonable to me.

Re:/mourn Groklaw (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year ago | (#44955473)

It's cases like this that make me miss Groklaw even more. They'd have someone there in the court to report on all this, and explain the legal shenanigans going on, with links to prior cases of the people involved trying the same thing, and probably how Microsoft is funding them!

My Kingdom for mod points! (not saying that that I actually HAVE a Kingdom).

Re:/mourn Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955781)

I was about to post the same thing, how I miss PJ.

Should have dismissed (2)

Poisonous Drool (526798) | about a year ago | (#44955005)

If you were paying the legal bills (easily more than $20k per month and $100-200k for the actual trial), you really want bogus claims or the entire lawsuit dismissed. Even if you win, you probably won't recover your legal fees and nothing for your time. I've been there.

Re:Should have dismissed (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44955083)

If you were paying the legal bills (easily more than $20k per month and $100-200k for the actual trial), you really want bogus claims or the entire lawsuit dismissed. Even if you win, you probably won't recover your legal fees and nothing for your time. I've been there.

This is true, but... IANAL.... if the trial goes through and the defendant wins, doesn't that help set a precedent?

Re:Should have dismissed (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44955249)

Precedents only count when they are in favor of the side with money. In most cases the poor sap getting sued doesn't have any access to prior cases and will just settle via mail to avoid the scary court time. It's ironic that it doesn't matter if they lose every case, that they are still very profitable. These guys ruin their law careers but likely make tens of millions in the process. You may call this case "when the troll finally gets his" but he likely sees it as "time to cash out"

Re:Should have dismissed (1)

muridae (966931) | about a year ago | (#44956023)

BZZZT WRONG!

Precedent is only set at the appeal level, not after the initial trial. So, if the troll wins the first trial, then loses on the appeal, precedent against patent trolls would be set. If the troll loses now, and continues to lose every appeal, there would still be no precedent. It is only set when a verdict is overturned.

Not to say that the ruling can't be cited and referenced in other court cases, but just that it does not become binding like a precedent is. And besides, a precedent is only binding in the area that the appellate court covers. So if this got overturned at a state level, the precedent would only be binding there and could just be a reference for other cases depending on how the judge wrote the ruling.

Re:Should have dismissed (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#44956855)

BZZZT CLOSE!

If the troll loses now, and continues to lose every appeal, there would still be no precedent. It is only set when a verdict is overturned.

A precedent at the appellate level can be set when a trial court's decision is affirmed. What is of most importance are the legal issues that form the basis of the appeal. This case appears to have the potential to be a significant decision on venue no matter who wins at the trial court level, providing of course there is an appeal of the venue decision.

In any event, the story is kind of confusing -- I'm having trouble seeing it as a great victory because instead of being dismissed, the case is still alive and the troll gets to go to a jury (i.e., vegas). Who knows how the jury will view the texas filing-cabinet office. Anyone remember that guy who lied to get on the Apple/Samsung jury? Yeah, they could get that kind of jury, and then who's laughing?

Re:Should have dismissed (1)

muridae (966931) | about a year ago | (#44957949)

my law knowledge only goes so far, and is mostly for contracts involved in photography. But, even though this case is at an appellate level court, it's still not an appeal case, just a case that the local court said 'forget it, you do all the work'. Probably my brain just misread the section on precedent from 'must be from an appellate level' as 'must be from an overturned appeal'. which is completely possible. I was reading only for contracts and right of publicity (limited areas affected because of certain appeal precedents). Also the reason that the only legal work I do for myself is printing up model release contracts and keeping up on what is 'fair value' for a valid photography contract (copy of some shots for the model's folio, a few dollars, even just a fast food lunch in some places). I won't pretend to be a lawyer, just a geek with enough knowledge to be dangerous. Anything bigger gets a real hired gun.

As for why the case is still alive, I think the judge wants to give them room to appeal, and also have enough in court records to keep the appeal from being overturned. By not dismissing, he'll have put enough evidence into record to make an appeal on venue suicidal (dismissed by a judge before a jury sees it for the whole "yeah, we hired a closet and paid someone to fake a signature of a not real entity" part) while also leaving just enough room to appeal the ruling, but with enough "see how we sued before we even owned the patent!" to make most jurists cringe.

Re:Should have dismissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955235)

If you were paying the legal bills (easily more than $20k per month and $100-200k for the actual trial), you really want bogus claims or the entire lawsuit dismissed. Even if you win, you probably won't recover your legal fees and nothing for your time. I've been there.

You really think that this judge, in this case, isn't going to award court costs and attorney's fees to the defendant if (when?) the case is settled in the defendant's favor?

That, and the precedent, will be fucking priceless.

unless he made the plaintiff post bond, no money (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44956799)

That's one reason for the shell companies that patent trolls use. The company that filed suit probably has no money. A ruling that they have to pay the defendant's costs is worthless. That is unless the judge had them put up a bond for that possibility when the case began.

Re:unless he made the plaintiff post bond, no mone (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about a year ago | (#44957787)

That's an interesting idea - is requiring the plaintiff to post a bond common? Personally I'd be happy if it was a requirement - if you want to sue somebody you need to show that you can pay the costs if you lose.

rare, I believe (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44958433)

I believe it's pretty rare. I'm not a lawyer, I just play one in court. I believe it's just when there's a decent chance you'll be ordered to pay the defendant's costs, and due to using a shell company or some other reason the costs may not be paid as ordered.

Consider this if a bond were required for all suits.
If a bond costs 10% of the face amount, and General Motors can claim they spent $10 million defending a lawsuit related to faulty brakes, that would be an extra $1 million cost before you're allowed to sue if your brakes fail and you're horribly injured. I wouldn't want the victims to have to pay an extra million before they can sue. In every case, the plaintiff is claiming they're a victim of something the plaintiff did, and most often it's true.

Re:rare, I believe (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year ago | (#44959157)

its becoming more common for these "baseless" (my opinion) claims. Look at Prenda Law and the bonds they're being asked to stump up - strangely they want to drop the cases the moment the bonds are set but the judges are not letting them.

The bonds in the Prenda cases are of the order of $10,000, not millions and appear to be awarded only in these extreme cases where it doesn't appear that there is a 'real' plaintiff.

Prenda, yes, but that's 0.00001% (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44959503)

Prenda and eleven other assholes file a lot of baseless claims, so yeah we're seeing it in those cases. Prenda isn't common, though. On the day Prenda filed their latest baseless suit, thousands of ordinary Americans sued the guy who ran into them, felled a tree onto their house etc.

Re:unless he made the plaintiff post bond, no mone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44960129)

Posting as AC because this is an ongoing case...
I'm being threatened by the shell company of an enormously well funded patent troll, Acacia Technologies. I asked my lawyer about this very idea - getting a judge to force the troll's shell company (Treehouse Avatar Technologies) to put up a bond. He said that he's never heard of such a thing. (And his entire practice is IP work.) This is the reason that suits are usually brought by shell companies that own nothing more than the one patent.

Re:Should have dismissed (1)

belmolis (702863) | about a year ago | (#44955429)

I suspect that the judge is pretty confident that they are going to lose and that in view of their extensive misconduct he will award costs to the plaintiff.

Re:Should have dismissed (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955695)

The judge called NPS behaviour "litigation misconduct" and demanded that they explain why it is not to the jury. If they fail to explain or if they refuse to explain then the case will be decided as misconduct on their own actions. If it was dismissed these asshats and their lawyers would have another chance against someone else somewhere else, if the case is shown to be based on misconduct then this company and it's lawyers will be facing a much harder time in every other court action. If I was one of the owners of Fortinet I would be laughing my ass off while paying our lawyers to show up and watch Aslup and the jury rip NPS into tiny little pieces. If there is proof of litigation misconduct then Fortinet will not only win but they can get legal costs and the lawyers for NPS can face disciplinary action at the bar for their part in the sham.

District of Eastern Texas (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955229)

Not sure if this is widely know, but the Eastern District of Texas is horribly corrupt. All the patent trolls have an "office" there so they can sue everyone in that district. Why? Because the court system is infamously plaintiff friendly. Just about any bullshit argument you can make will fly. Doesn't matter if pretty much all cases get overturned on appeal, the plaintiffs get what they wanted: costing the defendants lots of money, forcing most all to settle. And the district gets what they wanted: lots of lawyers and experts flying in to the small towns pumping up the local economy. Those laws congress is mulling over can't get passed fast enough.

Re:District of Eastern Texas (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955733)

From what I understand, its a popular district because its one of the least overloaded district courts. Cases that elsewhere would take years can go through Eastern Texas under a year. That way, trolls can go onto their next target quicker, and with a court ruling in their favor (if it happens), other companies give up quicker. However, from the actual rulings, it seems like a patent troll case is as likely to win there as anywhere else.

Now if you want a corrupt court system, check out the circuit court of northern Mississippi. That area became well known from the Phen-Fen case, even though the primary evidence was found to be fake. Problem there is everybody is related to everybody else or their neighbors, so its easy for a litigant to get a friendly jury.

Re:District of Eastern Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956605)

The success rate of patent trolls in East Texas is the same as elsewhere, but lets not let that fact stand in the way a good anti-Texas comment.

yet East Texas refused to hear this case (4, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44956823)

And yet, it seems even east Texas is getting tired of seeing these same patent trolls in their courts every week.

As good as this news feels (1)

harperska (1376103) | about a year ago | (#44955849)

it is kind of absurdly low hanging fruit. When we get a case with a judge laying the smack down on a patent troll firm abusing actual patents they own, that is run by actual lawyers with a real office, then we will have news.

But it *is* news. (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44957101)

The news is, that patent trolls will have to invest in real offices with real people staffing them. Not only that, but the chances that even if they have a sham company set up to protect them from getting hurt if it explodes in their face, they may still be found liable for the damages of the party they sued. If it's obviously a sham company set up for just such a case, I doubt any judge or jury will let it fly and give the actual trolls a break.

Plead the 5th? (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year ago | (#44956305)

Plead the 5th?

Re:Plead the 5th? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44956555)

Plead the 5th?

The plaintiff?? That's enough to give me reasonable doubt... It's not on the jury to prove the plaintiff's claims.

Sure. (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about a year ago | (#44956427)

I am the master of sham I polished my skills in the army where I had lots of sham points. I am the master of sham sir sham alot. How else do you think you get to be top, Invent shampoo or something.

And has the IRS got in on the act? (5, Insightful)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#44957115)

If the landlord was acting as the employee of the company, then the company should be paying social security payments on his earnings, and his rent includes pay as an employee. It's an approach that worked against Al Capone...

Rarely seen (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#44958111)

Rarely does a court decide that a company is a sham company. If this precedent were to take hold, then Google and Apple and Microsoft et al would be fucked since they have all kinds of sham companies set up in Ireland and and elsewhere to which they locate the profits from their American business activities. You can do almost anything and still not be called a "sham" corporation by a court so this must be a (good) judge who really has it in for patent trolls. May he be fruitful and multiply.

I miss Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44960615)

I really do miss the insight into the legal world.

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