Matthew Catalano, of the Dickson Supply Company, asks: "I work for a small plumbing, heating, irrigation, and BBQ supply house. Over the past four we have built up quite a website that houses tons of information and offers many products for sale via an online store. Recently a company known as PanIP has decided to sue us on 2 counts of patent infringement. To the best of my understanding, as you can see from their website, they claim that they invented the use of text and images as a method of business on the Internet. They also claim that they invented the use of a form to enter customer information. Obviously this is ridiculous and most likely won't hold up in court! However, this is not the problem. PanIP has also sued 10 other small companies. PanIP chose small companies because they hope that none of them can afford the legal fees that would ultimately remove their patents. Most defendants, including us, want to opt to bail out for a smaller licensing fee of $30,000. PanIP will continue this vicious cycle on small companies of which many of you may become victim of. Eventually they will have so many cases under their belt that they will be able to attack larger companies." Yet again, the USPTO is used as a weapon in the free market. When will someone get a clue and put a stop to this type of digital extortion?
"I am hoping to release this story to the press so that the US Patent office finally wakes up, but the media is unpredictable and unreliable in terms of which stories they encapsulate. If there is anyone out there who has any ideas about stopping PanIP or can help us out in any way it would be appreciated. Otherwise, just pass this along to everyone you know and hopefully something will come of it.
There is also a page we have constructed that reveals some more details."