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Under Attack by PanIP's Patent Lawyers?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the sponsored-by-the-major-blunders-of-the-USPTO dept.

Patents 550

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."

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a new record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512377)

for patent gripes in one day.

That is ridiculous (0, Redundant)

quinto2000 (211211) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512379)

That is a truly unscrupulous practice.

Re:That is ridiculous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512425)

That is a truly unscrupulous practice.

Fucking briliant thinking, Einstein. I'm glad you could add to the conversation.

Carl Orff: Ridiculus in gotsem fogg. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512457)

Riiidiculus in gootsem fogg.
Moree boree in perbum nogg.
Worgel nor wogg ?
Worgel nor wogg ?
Riiidiculus in gootsem fogg.
Moree boree in perbum nogg.
Worgel nor wogg ?
Worgel nor wogg ?
Ipsum vulgum pulltum shrum shrum.
End nopp wrtzzz mozppl fogg.
Sporum spuntum worum plumm plumm.
An quorum illum summum sum.

Re:That is ridiculous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512486)

That is a truly content-free post.

Fuckwit.

Re:That is ridiculous (1)

PhilipChapman (325188) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512556)

This is really making me sick when I see things like this. There isnt really anything the company can to do defend themself and even if panip looses the case the smaller company will be stuck with a whole lot of legal fees to pay off. I sure as hell hope something is done about this and soon.

lame attempt at first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512560)

and failed, too. You should have typed faster.

When hell freezes over? (0)

G0SP0DAR (552303) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512380)

Obviously, money talks, but considering how ridiculous the claims are, do they really need to hire lawyers?

Re:When hell freezes over? (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512402)

If an acutal patent exists for this... YES. Otherwise there would be summary judgement against them.

Re:When hell freezes over? (2)

tweakt (325224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512414)

Obviously, money talks

And apparently... bullshit walks. They're called patent attorneys.

bullshit walks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512481)

Obviously, money talks
And apparently... bullshit walks.

actually, bullshit wears wing-tips, at least if you go by the last couple of patent attorneys I've seen...

FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512389)

I would see if the FSF would take the case.

Re:FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512507)

That would be interesting. Stallman would be an excellent lawyer.

By the way, is this company a subsidiary of Dickson Cider?

Sue em back! (2, Insightful)

kiick (102190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512393)

Get together with the other companies that they have sued and sue them back for restraint of trade or something like that. With the legal fees split 10-12 ways, it should be easier to defend yourselves.

Re:Sue em back! (3, Interesting)

Flower (31351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512521)

(IANAL) Or get together and pay the fee to have the patent re-reviewed. iirc, this is between $15-50K but from what I've read if a patent survives re-review it is much stronger in court. A group of major players, including IBM, did that for the Y2K windowing patent.

btw, anybody know what happened with that issue? I haven't anything about the windowing patent for quite some time.

No point... (2, Insightful)

InnovativeCX (538638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512396)

From the looks of their web site, it appears as if the sole purpose of the company is to patent 'inventions' without actually accopmlishing anything. I would feel sorry for anyone losing a court battle to a company such as this.

Counter sue (2)

Keeper (56691) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512405)

Wouldn't you be able to counter sue for what it costs to defend such an accusation in court? Or something to that effect anyway?

Feed em to the Feds... (1)

eericson (103272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512582)

Can you just whip up some random info that connects them to Al Qaeda? Something showing that the money they win funds terrorism. Let the FBI chew on em for a while.

-E2

"Although there are more Microsoft Windows users than Macintosh users, we would like to remind you that there are far more cockroaches than people."
-- The New York Times

attack back (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512407)

use force ... "ping -f www.panip.com" .. I should get a patent on the "@" sign and charge for every email sent in the world.. oh wait.. someone already has that..

Re:attack back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512526)

How about a broader patent for email? Hrm, how about patent on using a textual address to send electronic communication.

My patent (1)

pyrrho (167252) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512410)

gratuitous mention of my own patent (required early in any slashdot thread on patents):

I've patented breathing air while programming.

Please cease and desist.

PS: Of course, one cannot patent breathing air OR programming, but doing them simultaneously... why that's quite different, special, and I invented it! Unfortunately, most people breath coffee while programming, so my patent doesn't really apply to very many programmers.

Re:My patent (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512524)

I've patented breathing air while programming.

Is this true?

I guess it's sad that I even have to ask...

:(

I have a confession (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512411)

I am a homo [goatse.cx] .

counter sue (2, Informative)

mcmcaughan (577655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512413)

Represent yourself, go through with the lawsuit and then slap them with a counter law suit for your time, money and efforts. This case has got to be dismissed based on what you have told us about it.

Perhaps you and all the other victims could pool your resources and counter as a collective group to reclaim damages.

Two words. (1, Redundant)

spongman (182339) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512416)

Counter-suit.

When? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512421)

When will someone get a clue and put a stop to this type of digital extortion?

October 4th 2012. I saw it in a dream. Seems far away but actually it's not too bad.

The laws will finally be changed when all government building face the possibility of paying me license fees for my patent on buildings that take into account the effect of my patented "Gravity Effect"

.

Who want's it (0)

the_chr0n1c (558698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512422)

FP

Anti-SLAP laws (1, Informative)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512423)

Many states have anti-strategic lawsuit laws (Say that three times fast!). This sounds like a pretty clear-cut violation. Call em on it and nail the bastards.

Re:Anti-SLAP laws (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512528)

I said it three times fast. now what?

Re:Anti-SLAP laws (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512546)

No, not at all. "SLAPP" stands for "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." The purpose of SLAPP suits is to eliminate whistle-blowers and muckrakers who expose corporate misdeeds. SLAPP has nothing to do with restraint of trade or patent law. The only way anything in this case could fall under the anti-SLAPP laws is if PanIP sued the poster for slander.

And no, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm also not an idiot who just babbles nonsense without any idea about what he is talking.

Prior Art (5, Interesting)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512428)

While don't your company and the other smaller pool together to fight back? That way since you're all being attacked on the same basis it'll save each of you money and maybe get a better lawyer. Obviously in the courts you guys will win just due to prior art, like the case recently where that company claimed that hyperlinking was their invention and it took an 80+ year old to say "umm, no we've been doing this for 30+ years". Also, licensing is not a good way to go because you will certainly be tied to them. Hell, maybe you guys can contact IBM's ebusiness department to see if they could lend any help in this case due to the fact that it would be in their best interest to not let this get out of hand. Just my 2 cents...

Re:Prior Art (2)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512527)

"While don't your company and the other smaller pool together to fight back?" - does he actually have details of the other companies? If you read his post you'll find he wants to resolve it without the cost of a court case - reduced or otherwise. PanIP's underhand tactics rely on that fact. However we don't know if he's used any of PanIP's code in his website. For all we know the form he uses could be under their copyright.

Re:Prior Art (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512558)

Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System (U.S. '319)
Automatic Information, Goods, and Services Dispensing System (Canada '216)

These appear to be the patents that panip is using for the case (these are right off of their page [panip.com] ). Seriously, how many people are going to patent this stuff (one-click and all that shit falls under this too). Obviously the patent agency needs to figure out who holds what, because I've got a feeling that a whole bunch of companies hold overlapping patents.

Re:Prior Art (1)

big_cat79 (156695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512575)

I'm sure there is little doubt that pr0n sites have been using images to sell subscriptions, etc. for a long, long time. There's your prior art.

Lets fight BACK!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512431)

and slashdot the website!!!

Time for a major overhaul of patent law (3, Informative)

hettb (569863) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512434)

Here is a plan for patent reform [zgp.org] . I sent it (slightly modified) to my local congresscritter; if more peope did this, maybe we'd finally see a change.

consolidate your legal challenges (5, Interesting)

MattW (97290) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512436)

If it were me, I'd contact the other defendants, and see if everyone were willing to pitch in to front one company challenging the validity of the patents. I'd look for some blatant prior art, which should be trivially easy to find. IANAL, but I'd be looking to get a summary judgement based on a mountain of prior art, and I'd want to ask a lawyer if it would be possible to countersue for malicious prosecution or fraud. You might also want to contact your senators or representatives -- you might be able to get the USPTO to "independantly" re-review their patents (and obviously, subsequently revoke them)

When will it stop? (1)

nowt (230214) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512437)

Frivolous lawsuits like this will stop when frivolous patents are not issued.

ACLU, EFF, SLAPP (5, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512438)

There are a few things that are specifically designed to remedy such predatory practices, aren't there?

If the case is somewhat novel, then the ACLU or EFF have pooled together funds from many people in order to be able to set good precendents.

If the suit will obviously fall in favor of the defendant, can't you get a good lawyer to file a SLAPP suit, and you won't have to pay the lawyer unless you win?

Some questions: (4, Informative)

Computer! (412422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512441)

Can you contact the companies currently under attack? If you all banded to gether to create some sort of defense fund, you could head them off at the pass. The Courts don't take well to a plaintiff that brings the same frivilous lawsuit back to trial after they've had it thrown out of court once already. It might be expensive, but not $300,000 expensive (10 companies X $30,000 settlement).

What state are you in? is it the same as PanIP? They have to sue you in your home state, remember. At the very least, make the proceedings as expensive for them as possible.

Most importantly, do not settle. You will end up validating a thouroughly disgusting business plan.

Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512443)

This kind of crap is just one of the things that you have to put up with in a Capitalist society. The corrpution that is created by moving to a communist regime is by no means worth giving up a money-motivated government. Which is worse: a government where the rich oppress, or one where the government oppress? The key aspect of capitalism is that it separates the right to inflict physical harm (i.e. the goverment) from those who inflict economic and social harm (i.e. oppressive corporations). We have to give something up to live in a democratic country, and ironclad protection from crap like this is it.

zerg (3, Funny)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512446)

When will someone get a clue and put a stop to this type of digital extortion?

Easy:

Most defendants, including us, want to opt to bail out for a smaller licensing fee of $30,000.

When people stop making money by patenting fake things and suing people and making money.

but the media is unpredictable and unreliable in terms of which stories they encapsulate.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help you, and if you can get them to accept your submission, maybe you can hire ASK SLASHDOT!

Otherwise, just pass this along to everyone you know and hopefully something will come of it.

Chainmail! The solution to all of life's problems...

Clever buggers (5, Funny)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512448)

Their Web site [panip.com] is cleverly designed to use a minimum of text and graphics, as well as containing almost no actual information, making it very difficult to bring down by Slashdotting. They really are sneaky, aren't they?

Guess I'll just have to go do an old-fashioned DDoS instead....

Re:Clever buggers (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512517)

Surely this site that preaches Intellectual Property (tm) have some content on their site. Perhaps I haven't been looking in the right directories or ports, such as ftp, etc...

Time to start looking...

Re:Clever buggers (1)

abcxyz (142455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512525)

It is 5:15pm EDT and they are /.'ed! (Or at least very, very slow.

Taste of Their Own Medicine? (1, Funny)

Livn4Golf (83604) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512449)

PanIP's patents page [panip.com] uses hyperlinks. Is British Telecom still suing sites for using hyperlinks?

Their site also uses the GIF image format. Doesn't some company sue others because of the LZW patent?

There must be some way to use one company's frivoluous patents against another company's frivolous patents.

What about MY patent? (5, Funny)

kcornia (152859) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512452)

I patented the process of using the internet to search for unsuspecting small companies likely to fold under patent infringement lawsuits.

Might as well make that check out to me..

Re:What about MY patent? (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512478)

haha, whether you get modded or not i commend you for your humour in time of danger. This reminds me of how Stallman was explaining how his friend patented part of kirchoff's law just to prove how stupid the patent system worked. Oh well... haha.

Three words... (5, Informative)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512453)

Call the EFF [eff.org] . The Electronic Frontier Foundation might be able to help you, and if not, they can certainly point you towards a good lawyer.

Fight 'em all the way.

Re:Three words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512544)

Definitely. And at the very least, consult with an attorney before you pay them anything. It looks like the patent they're referring to was granted in 1996--late enough so that you could claim prior art on their "invention." Also, since PanIP is going afer you civilly, there's always the possibility of a class action with the other small business.

EFF, and working with other targets (5, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512547)

You can often get legal costs covered if you win, which is one reason the EFF and similar groups can often afford to be helpful. A first-glance look by a non-lawyer says that either their patents are totally bogus for this application or they're covered by prior art. The first one I looked at mentioned being about "terminals" and a central processor, and that certainly shouldn't apply here. There are also some similarities to the BT Hyperlink patent nonsense. It's especially worth talking to the other targets of this abuse.

Re:Three words... (5, Funny)

swb (14022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512569)

How about these three words? La Cosa Nostra.

Get somebody to have an informal conversation with PanIP's leader about the health benefits of leaving your company alone.

They should know that the benefits are many: continued orthapedic mobility, original dentition, full use of digits. It's a family plan, too -- his or her daughter or son retain the dignity and innocence they've always enjoyed. And it's an umbrella that can even extend to one's car, home and other prized personal possessions which are so often the victim of unplanned catastrophes like fires and explosions.

You would think that someone that would make a business out of patent enforcement would eventually run into someone who can play that game a lot better. Extortion and strong-arm tactics with lawyers is generally the gateway to extortion and strong-arm tactics with guys with funny accents and a bad sense of humor.

Fight the patent (2, Informative)

Watcher (15643) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512454)

File a contest of the patent with the PTO. That will probably cost about $8000, less than the cost of the fight against PanIP. Then countersue PanIP.

Either way, your lawyers should be quite capable at finding the prior art to stop this. I would strongly recommend that all of the companies being sued band together to kill the patents.

The RAMBUS approach. (2)

jmv (93421) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512456)

This looks exactly like what RAMBUS have been doing with memory, although RAMBUS attacked big buisnesses right from the start. What sunk RAMBUS is that several companies (Infineon, Micron I think, ...) teamed together to defeat their patents. Eventually not only did they lose their patent claim on SDRAM and DDR, but I think they lost their money from the companies that caved in (Toshiba?, Hitashi?).

Maybe your company could join the others that were extorted money and try to prove that the patent claims have no ground. If everybody sues for punitive damage and fraud, there could even be money to gain... Of course, IANAL...

I was planning to troll with a gay porn pic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512458)

but this patent-abusing extortion scheme is already sick enough.

In the news today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512463)

Church Blames Obesity For Sex Attacks

USA - A prominent American cardinal, so high up in the church hierarchy that he finds it difficult to breath, has blamed American childrens' eating habits for the spate of recent paedophile scandals. "Basically kids are so fat these days that they can't run away fast enough when a horny priest approaches. Its a disgrace. If kids didn't eat so much junk food and exercised more the the whole problem could be avoided. Even old guys in the Church - 70, 80 year olds - have no trouble getting hold of juvenile meat, juvenile flab I should say. Its terrible situation. Only last week a priest in San Diego was crushed to death while trying to brush up an altar boy's catechism." The unidentified cardinal's comments have caused outrage across the whole girth of the United States, with parents threatening court action against the Catholic Church for defammation of their childrens' waistlines. Others go further. "Jesus came to me in a vision, and he wasn't no skinny bearded Jew, he was big, fat and white, like me and the kids," swears Claude Lubber, founder of Minnesota's First Church of the Extra-Large Christ. "By insultin' American kids' fat that cardinal's insultin' their Christ-like nature. I'm sendin him a one-way ticket to the Lake of Fire."

One way out of this... (1, Funny)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512467)

Theres only one way out of this.

Chip in enough to buy one of those "Predator" unmanned aircrafts with two hellfire-c missiles.

Ask PanIP lawyers to get everyone who wants a "piece of the pie" to meet you at the PanIP office at Monday morning 10:00

Program the "Predator" to drop its load on the PanIP coordinates on 10:15 AM on Monday (Give them 15 mins to get their coffee).

Case over. You would have troubles from lawyers no more.

Safety in Numbers (3, Interesting)

twfry (266215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512469)

It was stated that there are at least 10 other small companies being sued by this "company" and in the same situation. Do you know who they are? If so I'd suggest contacting them and seeing if they are interested in a group class action lawsuit for extortion.

It seems that your case is very strong and at least some of the other organizations will recognize this as well. Banding together with the other companies will 1) Reduce your legal fees 2) Strengthen your case 3) Give all of you more negotiating power with PanID.

IANAL

Well you asked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512470)

When will someone get a clue and put a stop to this type of digital extortion?

When someone flys a plane into the USPTOs building in Arlington Virginia, directions are here [uspto.gov]

Gang up on them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512471)

PanIP has also sued 10 other small companies

Can't you all gang up and repel the attack together?

What Patents? (3, Informative)

Wanker (17907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512472)

It would be useful if in the discussion in the PanIP Case "threat" description [homeip.net] they mentioned just which patents PanIP claims they have infringed.

You just might be able to get some useful pointers to prior art which could be used in your counter-suit.

Sue! Sue! Sue! (1)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512474)

I think you should settle with them, but ONLY if they agree to sue major companies also, in order to maintain fair practices. If they don't agree, file a big press release to get public opinion on your side. I see ./ has already brought you a lot of attention.
This is the Onion come to life: Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes [theonion.com]

two word answer: (3, Redundant)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512477)

The EFF [eff.org]

Isn't this the sort of thing the EFF exists for?

To everyone else, join the EFF and make a donation, because the lesson learned in this case is that small guys need big friends, and if all the small guys in the world banded together, bullying tactics like this wouldn't work. Someday you just might be the small guy.

Ideally you should LOSE!! (1)

Cowboy Bill (118730) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512483)

If you guys choose to argue the case yourselves in court there is a good chance you would win. BUT even if you lose, a lot of good might come out of it. This would definitely become a landmark case against using text, images and forms in the internet. So at the end who looks like the one caught with their pants down ?

Our beloved patent office who handed over the patents!

Check your references... (1)

freq (15128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512484)

This story is an obvious troll.

Time to make this illegal... (5, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512485)

It is high time to make filing of patents that do not cover any real invention illegal. And it is high time that the USPTO is made legally responsible for damages caused by patents that are succesfully revoked.

Futhermore I think that patents on IT need to be granted or refused within a very short time or alternatively be automatically voided if the "invention" is in broad use when the patent is finally granted.

Interesstingly German patent law had the requirement that only inventions that are significantly more inventive than what an average expert can come up with could be patented at all. Sadly it seems that with the EU this is not valid for software patents anymore.

Loser pays (3, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512487)

Definately, this illustrates the need for patent law and patent office reform. However, I think it also identifies another fundamental weakness of the US civil courts: anybody can sue anybody else without real penalties, and make it so expensive to fight back that the victim better off settling. The court system is being used as an extortion racket.

Seems to me it would be worthwhile to adopt a "loser pays" system. PanIP would be free to sue this guy's company all they want, but when PanIP loses in court, they has to pay the other side's legal bills. Think of all the worthless lawsuits people file with lawyers who know they don't have a case, but are just throwing them out there to see who'll settle (*cough*JesseJackson*cough*). They're probably think twice about it, and make sure they actually have legal leg to stand on if they knew they'd have to foot the bill if they lose.

Unfortunate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512488)

but it's just a side-effect of the society in which we live today.

When you can patent one-click shopping, just about everything's fair game.

When our hero's arm gets cut off by Count Dakoo, and is later replaced with a golden arm, I feel that is just another ploy to condition us to accept loss from the people in power because in the end we will be rewarded. With a 24-carat limb, no less.

Society is going down a rathole. Donate to the EFF, people, and cross your fingers.

oh fucking man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512492)

this gets my blood boiling (literally, im turning red/hot, and my head is throbing)... wow, oh man, I own a small business website, if they ever try to sue me i'm KILLING THEM.. no I wont close my site, no i wont pay a license fee, no i wont counter-sue, I'll just go INSANE on their asses. I'll murder the workers, and their families, set the building on fire, kill people near the building, blow up local pubs, kill innocent children... im going so crazy right now, they better not ever think of contacting me ::shakes and twitches::

(this may seem like a troll or joke, but im 100% going crazy)

Cry Hell... (1)

weepingwillow (167479) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512495)

And let lose the dogs of slashdot.

Their home page gives a lot of contact information. How long before everyone on that page get slashdoted.

you're golden (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512496)

It might be a big upfront cost, but if you can scrape the money together I'd say it's time for a countersuit. Although IANAL, it appears to me that this is a case you cannot lose. So think of the legal fees as a sound investment.

Even if you can't afford it, a public defender should suffice to clear you of these absurd charges.

Wow, even the name "PanIP" repulses me. Literally, it's "all intellectual property" or something. I don't even want to imagine what the people who own this company are like. Not the type you'd invite over to watch the game, that's for sure.

that's not their idea... (5, Funny)

The Locehiliosan (578283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512497)

"they claim that they invented the use of text and images as a method of business on the Internet"

Everyone knows it was Al Gore who invented that!!!

Whatever happens, don't let them win (1)

beefstu01 (520880) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512499)

This is almost as stupid as the hyperlink... *sigh* how dumb can people be...

Unless I'm mistaken, you can't patent a method of selling a product. You can patent the TV, you can patent how to deliver the signal, but you can't patent ads. And I have to wonder about these hairbrais too... What is being done on the internet is more or less an interactive ad from a newspaper... both images and text are being used to conduct business... maby PanIP owns the patent to that too and should sue ever newspaper that existed from the start of the USA.

In all, these claims are dumb, they don't own/hold the patents to HTML, forms, images or plain text, so they have no grounds to sue.

Call the folks at Amazon! (4, Interesting)

aitala (111068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512502)

There is a simple solution - call the folks at Amazon and tell them about the patents. This affects they way they do business. Let them fight it out with PanIP.

Watch out banks! (1)

kcornia (152859) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512505)

Looks like they've also patented ATMs, kiosks, and quite possibly internet cafe computers, if someone buys something while using it.

Depending on how you read their patent, they could have patented all computers that are used to order things online.

Contact the EFF (2, Informative)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512506)

Contact the EFF and fight this. This is simply extortion.

Of course, there is also a chance that they don't really want to go to court either (since this has scam all over it), so tell them to go fuck themselves and see what they do.

Contact Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512514)

rmercado37@yahoo.com is listed as the contact on the website.

You should report this unscrupulous lawsuit... (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512515)

Just send your complaint to abuse@panip.com. That should do the trick.

Seriously though, I think someone had this great idea that they would set up a company and website for the sole purpose of suing people for this sort of thing. Their website [panip.com] claims they use a Yahoo mail account for contact, and their phone number simply has an answering machine connected to it - no live answering.

Drat, they're running on Verio w/ IRIX. Good luck, geeks...

someone should report this terrorist in! (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512520)

Your are either for the government( patent office) or for the terrorists. There is no in between. He is agaisnt the government so he is a terrorist. Just ask Jack Valentinni or Bill Gates about patents and they will tell you the truth. We need to protect intellectual property for the sake of our basic liberties. Please report such memebers to the FBi and think about our children.

YAHOO Email id ????? (1)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512529)

rmercado37@yahoo.com seems to be the only way to email these idiots.

YES we invented the internet. NO! we dont have the ability to run an email server.

Ugh, what's wrong with these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512530)

Stop wasting our court time on your retarded suits, I'm sure there's a rapist waiting to use it.

Loser Pays would go a long way towards fixing this (2, Interesting)

gtwreck (74885) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512532)

It's about time for some Tort Reform in the USA. Unfortunately, all the politicians are lawyers...

What is this crap? (2)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512533)

This looks like a patent that would let them SUE any website that has a search function and sells anything online? What the hell is wrong with the patent office?

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT O2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r =1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ft00&s1=''5,576,951''.WKU.&O S=PN/"5,576,951"&RS=PN/"5,576,951" [uspto.gov]

Counter-sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512536)

Counter-sue them over your patented business method of being a moron. OTOH, they can show lots of prior art for that...

(Disclaimer: IANAL)

EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512542)

Isn't this the type of thing the EFF usually enjoys defending.

Loser pays (1)

slam smith (61863) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512545)

What will it take for Americans to realize that the U.S. is in dire need of a loser pays provision for our civilian court system. Shysters like this would soon find extortion such as this far to expensive to be a realistic business model. In our current legal enviroment, this sort of extortion makes a very profitable business model. With the resulting drop in civil litigation in the U.S., our court systems would have the ability to expidite the remaining cases, which I believe would have the effect of even reducing further the number of extortion cases. I believe a lot of people would like to fight this cases, but the incredibly long period of time it can take, causes them to lose hope. For these legal extortionists, the cost of litigating a case to it's conclusion isn't very appealling since they won't make as much money that way. Especially if they lose and end up covering thier opponents legal fees.

Couple this changes with tort reform and you would really improve the legal enviroment of America.

The patents do not apply (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512548)

Following the link at the end of the story, I get the strong impression that the patehts do not apply. Reasons:
  1. "Web" does not imply "Video-screen". And it is certainly not the vendor that determines the method of display.
  2. Nowhere does "web" imply "telephone line", as many (A)DSL, Cable and Cellphone-access users can testify.

Call EFF and fight (0)

sofist (556213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512551)

Do not let them get away with this. Do not pay the $30.000. Fight them and make this patent go away. (Yes I all so own a site that uses those "patents")

Patents, Patents, Patents... (1)

usr122122121 (563560) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512554)

Between this and all the Adobe/Macromedia patent infringement lawsuits, why isn't anyone [in DC] doing something about frivolous patents?
Is it possible for the US Gov't to revoke patents?

Gain allies from your vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512555)

Who designed your Website? Provided you the software? Supports you in any way? Is it a large vendor with deep pockets and a strong vested interest in keeping customers such as your own firm? If you are using products or services from one of the "big guys" and have a friendly sales or marketing support rep, give them a call, explain the situation, and ask them to find out if anyone else like you has suffered like this. You need to find someone bigger than these bullies to beat some sense into them.

Wouldn't it be funny . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512557)

if investigation showed that PanIP is funded by Microsoft?

Isn't the patent more specific? (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512565)

I looked at the details of some of the patents they claim. For example, they cite 5,309,355 whose abstract talks about a terminal display that guides users step-by-step through a transaction. At first glance, this is frightening; however, a read of the actual patent shows such statements as:
Specifically this invention is directed to a tool for augmentation of sales and marketing capabilities of travel agency personnel in conjunction with computerized airline reservation systems.
So what I don't see, reading their patents, is anything that actually applies to a typical e-commerce web site. All their claims (and the citations) point to specific inventions, not any abstract ideas (you know, the way patents are supposed to work).

Sue the USPTO? (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512568)

I'm so not a lawyer, so I ask: Can these guys sue the USPTO for issuing the bogus patent? It only seems fair to be able to recover court costs, at least.

some interesting info (1)

neoThoth (125081) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512570)

I'm going to write a polite yet raw email to him expressing how i feel about low life... errr folks that prey on others. this isn't constructive work, in fact it is just as described... extortion

rmercado37@yahoo.com you'd think he could afford his own since he's gleaning money from other folks hard work....

Mailing Address:
PanIP
329 Laurel Street
San Diego, California
92101-1630 USA

Telephone: Email:
858-454-7095 rmercado37@yahoo.com
Fax:
858-454-4358

Pan IP should sue M$ (2)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512572)

Doesn't IE consist of %90 of the browser market now? M$ obviously owns %90 of the delivery of panip's patent infringment, wake up man go where the money is! Hey PanIP I may not have a law degree but I can certainly tell you there's no sense in trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

Let them know where we stand! (5, Informative)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512573)

Professionally and concisely contact them through one of the following venues, and let them know that their actions are being observed with disdain by thousands.

Please mod this up so Slashdot can continue to be the efficient political machine it often has been in the past. Just a simple call saying you dont like what they're doing, and mention the details of this situation, should be enough to make them think twice if everybody calls.

Here are the contacts, from http://www.panip.com/corpinfo.htm [panip.com] :

Mailing Address:
PanIP
329 Laurel Street
San Diego, California 92101-1630 USA

Telephone: 858-454-7095
Email: rmercado37@yahoo.com (really professional...)
Fax: 858-454-4358

The following lawyers help them in their tirade. CC and call them all. I'll begin with a copyable email list. The rest need to be contacted by phone:

webmaster@lyonlyon.com, kwalkerlaw@cox.net, info@chiresearch.com

And for those that would rather call, including some attorneys with no email address (What's up with that? Hello, 2002? Hello?)

BUCHACA, JOHN D. & HENRI CHARMASSON
1545 HOTEL CIRCLE SOUTH
SUITE 150
SAN DIEGO, CA USA 92108
619-294-2922

Kathleen M. Walker
3421 Thorn Street
San Diego, California 92104
Phone Number: 619-255-0987
Fax Number: 619-255-0986
kwalkerlaw@cox.net

Luce Forward Hamilton Scripps
Phone: (619) 236-1414
Fax: (619) 232-8311
600 West Broadway, Suite 2600
San Diego, CA 92101

And finally, their technical advisor:
CHI Research Inc.
10 White Horse Pike
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035 USA
Phone (856) 546-0600
Fax (856) 546-9633
email: info@chiresearch.com

You want to get even, folks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3512578)

Easy: let's hack PanIP.

free market? (1)

bluprint (557000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512581)

Yet again, the USPTO is used as a weapon in the free market.

Erm...this is anything but a free market. You will find VERY few libertarian economists (people who know what a free market really is) who support intellectual property rights.

Of course, most people in society want laws that subsidize themselves...on the left are people who want "welfare" type laws, so they can continue to do whatever they do, and on the right are those who want "corporate welfare" and other protectionist laws (such as intellectual property laws) to allow them to do what they do.

Very, very few people support a truly free market.

this kind of subject... (3, Funny)

blamanj (253811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512586)

requires two new moderation categories. IANAL -1 and LegalOpinion +1.

Boo hoo (2)

realdpk (116490) | more than 12 years ago | (#3512589)

"We're giving in to the evil PanIP company like several other companies have, oh Slashdot, won't you feel sorry for us?"

If you don't defend yourself against this abuse, _you are part of the problem_. Slashdot cannot help you, especially since you've already decided to settle. <constructive>If it isn't too late, call the EFF, perhaps they can help.</constructive>

(-3, Flamebait)
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