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PanIP Drops E-commerce Patent Lawsuits

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the mighty-noble dept.

Patents 104

Darlok writes "Back in October 2002, PanIP sued 50 small businesses, claiming patents over basic E-commerce functions. One of the defendents set up a group defense fund, and in the last week, contributors to that fund have been notified by e-mail and this notice on the fund's homepage that PanIP has agreed to drop its lawsuits without any licenses being issued. The U.S. Patent Office is currently reviewing the patents in question. Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent ..."

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104 comments

More questions than answers about PanIP (5, Interesting)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#8710180)

I posted my take on this story four days ago on my journal.

Here's what it says about it:

The message board and all the pages within the site are now gone, and there's only one single page that briefly outlines what happened.

But big fat question marks are all over the place. What happens now? The fifteen or so defendants who banded together to fight are off the hook, at least as far as PanIP is concerned, but what about the dozens of others? Has PanIP dropped all of its suits, or just the ones against the members of that group?

At the bottom of the page is a sort of cryptic quote: "Don't let the things you can't do stop you from doing all that you can," which I take to mean that among the things that couldn't be done was to utterly defeat PanIP and prevent its founder from continuing his campaign of lawsuits against e-commerce companies.

Back in January, the founder of the PanIP Group Defense Fund had placed a warning on the site that PanIP was sending threatening letters out to businesses who had previously been left alone. Were those letters a last-ditch effort by PanIP to generate the capital necessary to continue the fight over its patents? Or was PanIP anticipating settling its way out of paying the $19,000 in legal fees awarded to the defense group following a determination by at least one judge that PanIP's defamation lawsuit against the group was an illegal SLAPP under California law?

Should e-commerce businesses breathe a sigh of relief that PanIP has backed off, or should they be more worried than ever? If PanIP starts up its campaign of lawsuits anew, will the next round of targeted companies similarly band together to fight off the suit?

The former website of the defense group states that both of PanIP's e-commerce patents are facing re-examination by the USPTO. The "automated sales" patent has been under review since August, according to the old version of the site, which never mentioned that the other patent was actually under review. If they are indeed both under review, can PanIP even file any new lawsuits?

I do not mean to denegrate the defense group in any way... standing up to PanIP was, in my opinion, the correct and brave thing to do. And, at the same time, carrying on the fight when an olive branch is offered with few, if any, strings attached would have been foolish. I don't blame the defense group for opting out of a longer, uglier fight, and I salute them for standing tough as long as they did. Just getting the patent office to re-examine both the patents was quite a feat, one that very well might get both patents invalidated and send PanIP packing in the end, after all.

But if the patents are re-affirmed, you can bet that a whole lot of businesses who'd never heard of PanIP or its patents will be hearing all about them real soon.

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Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710185)

As if I didn't see this one coming...

Re:Of course! (1)

cshark (673578) | about 10 years ago | (#8713001)

Yep.
The frivality of it all...
Maybe now PANIP can stop harassing small business owners and do whatever it is that they did before.
Shit heads...

Re:Of course! (1)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#8713139)

Maybe now PANIP can stop harassing small business owners and do whatever it is that they did before.
There was no thing that they did before. PanIP LLC was formed, and 30 days later it started suing people. In fact, PanIP was only formed in the first place to shield Lawrence Lockwood, the holder of these patents, from any personal liability for his actions. This whole thing has almost certainly been just this one single guy and his lawyer, and maybe a handful of financial backers.

I'm guessing maybe the backers backed out, and rather than pay $19,000 to the group defense fund and keep fighting, he just settled and gave up.

Lockwood likes to paint his company as this sprawling IP licensing firm, and it's really just one guy working out his ramshackle home. I bet if you went into that home you'd find mountains of cheap porn videos, empty pizza boxes, and Victoria's Secret catalogs.

This isn't some big, menacing company. It's just a guy and his lawyer. I mean, just look at the PanIP website. I've seen teenagers design better sites as school projects. That was a do-it-yourself project, I'm betting. It's better than the old version of the site, probably because LL just bought Dreamweaver MX.

Re:Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8716781)

So PanIP was a small business devoted to putting an end to small business on the web. That's sad an ironic.

Precedents (4, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | about 10 years ago | (#8710186)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent...
Since I have a PhD in /. patent law, I'll take this one: It might set "some sort" of precedent, but since PanIP dropped the case, it probably won't be a legal precedent. D'oh!

As an aside, I like the choice of "www.youmaybenext.com" for the fund's homepage. I wonder what the next ridiculous patent lawsuit will be for? I smell a new poll.

Re:Precedents (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710224)

I wonder what the next ridiculous patent lawsuit will be for?

Method for remotely overloading and causing service interruption of Internet servers through the use of multiple HTTP requests ("Slashdotting")

Re:Precedents (5, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | about 10 years ago | (#8710383)

That uses far too much regular English and not enough of the word "said." My take:

Method for organizing users ("slashdotters") in the creation of a cascade of TCP/IP ("Telecommunications/Internet Protocol") traffic in the form of page requests ("hits") to an unequipped personal web server in order to remotely overload said server ports or network throughput ("bandwidth") limitations causing service interruption ("slashdotting") in distribution of said pages resulting in the return of multiple HTTP ("hyper text transfer protocol") errors including, but not limited to HTTP errors 404 and 501 as identified in RFC 12345 Section 6: "HTTP Error Codes," produced and disseminated from said server to said page requests from said cascade using said technology.

Re:Precedents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8711274)

Well said.

Re:Precedents (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710306)

A PhD in /. law? How was /. law school? :)

Seriously though, it does set a very important precedent--namely, that other companies sitting in PanIP's sights can and ought to fight back, because
PanIP doesn't appear eager to see itself in court.

Know thy enemy, and all that...

Re:Precedents (4, Funny)

Liselle (684663) | about 10 years ago | (#8710424)

A PhD in /. law? How was /. law school? :)
How was it? I'd rather not talk too much about it. Suffice it to say that my peers had hygiene issues, there was always a rush to be the first one in class, professors constantly duplicated their own lectures, and my diploma was created with outdated HTML and an eye-gouging color scheme. I won't even get into the thing with the "crackhead" TA's that graded papers.

Oh, and we had a knock-down drag-out fight every other day about the difference between copyrights, trademarks, and patents. That was pretty annoying. Otherwise though... good times, good times.

Re:Precedents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710400)

So did your doctoral thesis hit the upper limit of comment size on Slashdot?

Win the battle, retreat from the war? (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8710192)

The PanIP Group Defense Fund is saying that it's going to dissolve because the all lawsuits against group members are being discontinued, in exchange for the group willing to give up the already on the books order that PanIP pay PGDF's legal fees. Uhm...

To me, this is not a result the outside world should be cheering. It's a settlement that protects the asse(t)s of the group members, but it's not a knockout blow to PanIP. PanIP is giving up nothing but the right to pursue an appeal that they weren't likely to lose and create an even stronger precedent. The PGDF is giving up the chance to extract real money from PanIP.

Boo! Hiss! Bad move!

The PGDF shuuld not be folding. Just because their orginal case has been settled does not mean they have become pointless. They should be seeing through that the patents be invalidated, and keeping the group in existance so that anybody sued by PanIP in the future could get quick and easy access to the resources that worked before.

As their website domain has always said, you could be next to be sued by PanIP if you're doing basic e-commerce on the Web. And nothing in this settlement prevents that happening. PanIP's plan may be to just let this group fade away, and then sue another group of defendants hoping that they don't join together into a large enough group to squash them like a bug again. It's a little too early to be putting the fly swatter away.

Re:Win the battle, retreat from the war? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710286)

Just because their orginal case has been settled does not mean they have become pointless. They should be seeing through that the patents be invalidated, and keeping the group in existance so that anybody sued by PanIP in the future could get quick and easy access to the resources that worked before.

No. They should be getting back to running their businesses. End.

Great News! (4, Interesting)

Thanatopsis (29786) | about 10 years ago | (#8710193)

I had a friend who was being sued by PanIP. His online discount perfume store was nearly forced out of business over these dubious patents. What kills me is that the prior art for selling on the web was out there. Hot Hot Hot [hothothot.com] launched in 1994 doing most everything covered by that group of patents. Good Riddance.

Re:Great News! (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8710204)

Unfortunately, PanIP isn't going away. They've only promised not to sue the 15 defendants who all ganged up to fight back. Everybody else is still at risk...

Great Site for Hot Sauces (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 10 years ago | (#8710797)

Just to point out that Hot Hot Hot [hothothot.com] is a fine puveyor of some of the best (read as really, really hot ) hot sauces known to mankind. Other than it would be a waste of good hot sauce, the principals at PanIP should have a liberal dose of something like Rior Mortis [hothothot.com] applied to a variety of sensetive body parts so that they remember that there was prior art.

Probably not... (3, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | about 10 years ago | (#8710200)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent ...

Well, it doesn't set any sort of legal precedent and since businesses are, except in the extremely rare case, demonstrably amoral I wouldn't expect any sort of karmic-rub off on other companies, either.

Businesses are beholden to their shareholders. If shareholder valuation can be increased via protection of patents then the company has a fiduciary duty to pursue that course of action. To not do so would be neglicent and could open the company up to a shareholder lawsuit.

Re:Probably not... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8710266)

In fact, they're missing their chance to set a legal precedent by letting PanIP go through with their foolish appeal and losing...

Re:Probably not... (1)

Sensitive Claude (709959) | about 10 years ago | (#8710335)

PanIP already dropped the case, at least against the companies that banded together to fight it.

It should have been dismissed with extreme prejudice, but at least the patents are being re-examined.

No missed precedents here (3, Informative)

AhBeeDoi (686955) | about 10 years ago | (#8710346)

In a legal sense, a precedent would be something new and groundbreaking. If the courts find PanIP's patents to be invalid due to prior art and such a decision has never been rendered before, then we may call it a precedent. Otherwise, its just another case.

Re:Probably not... (2, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 10 years ago | (#8710295)

It's so neglicent, it could end up landing the company in a negligee!

I wonder if your comment is what Darl McBride says 6,000 times every night before he does to sleep. And not just because it's boring, but because it formally codifies the self-serving "fuck everything but 5 minutes from now" attitude that so permeates the American business world of today.

Stunning not only in its retreat from personal responsibility from reprehensible acts (aka Enron) but in its complete indifference to the big picture with regards to business! I'm just glad Hal Jordan isn't alive to see this type of attitude portrayed as acceptable for anyone, let alone captains of industry.

Re:Probably not... (4, Interesting)

Sensitive Claude (709959) | about 10 years ago | (#8710323)

Businesses are beholden to their shareholders. If shareholder valuation can be increased via protection of patents then the company has a fiduciary duty to pursue that course of action. To not do so would be neglicent and could open the company up to a shareholder lawsuit.

OK, lets take a look at their patent....

A system for composing individualized sales presentations created from various textual and graphical information data sources to match customer profiles. The information search and retrieval paths sift through a hierarchy of data sources under multiple operating programs. The system provides the means for synergistically creating and displaying customized presentations in a convenient manner for both the customer and salesperson to achieve a more accurate, efficient and comprehensive marketing presentation....


Beyond the fact that they are using big words to say "Sell stuff on the internet using computers", and using a search engine.... What the bloody fscking heck does synergistically mean?

Maybe their should be a rule at the USPO that anyone that uses Synergy, let alone synergistically in their patent application should not only have their patent denied, but should be banned from ever filing for a patent again EVER!

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRG! Really! What the Fsck are they thinking! (or is that the point)

Maybe I'm just too sensitive. But their shareholders should sue them for being Fscking Idiots who file patents that just don't make sense.

That person that filed the patent actually lives near me. I should find him and kick him in the ass.

Re:Probably not... (1)

AhBeeDoi (686955) | about 10 years ago | (#8710380)

At the turn of the 20th century, somebody famously said that the patent office should be closed because everything that can be invented has been invented.

Well, they kept it open so that things can be re-invented.

Re:Probably not... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 10 years ago | (#8711717)

Maybe I'm just too sensitive. But their shareholders should sue them for being Fscking Idiots who file patents that just don't make sense.

That person that filed the patent actually lives near me. I should find him and kick him in the ass.

No, I don't think you're being too sensitive. :-)

Synergy (1)

phorm (591458) | about 10 years ago | (#8718122)

Synergy [wikipedia.org]

In this case, I'm guessing that it's basically meaning co-operation between two groups resulting in mutual benefit (in this case the customer/salesperson). However, the rest of the sentence pretty much says that already, so it's basically a bunch of BS meant to make them sound important.

Re:Probably not... (2, Interesting)

rollingcalf (605357) | about 10 years ago | (#8710609)

"Businesses are beholden to their shareholders. If shareholder valuation can be increased via protection of patents then the company has a fiduciary duty to pursue that course of action."

No business has a fudiciary duty to use unethical means to extort money from anybody. Some may choose to do so, but they don't have a duty to do so.

And yes, using bogus patents to extract license fees is unethical, even though it isn't illegal.

Precedent (2, Insightful)

DavidBartlett (748559) | about 10 years ago | (#8710214)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent... Oh, rest assured, it will. I just hope it's a good precedent.

Re: Precedents (4, Funny)

inphinity (681284) | about 10 years ago | (#8710232)

What's next? I'll tell you what's next!

A domain-squatter lawsuit over http://www.youmaybenext.com just because it happens to be some pro-wrestlers's death mantra.

Nothing new here, move along . . . (3, Insightful)

werdna (39029) | about 10 years ago | (#8710255)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent ...

What kind of precedent? Patent defense consortia have been routine practices in defending against agressive plaintiffs seeking to take fundamental control of key industry elements. When this was first raised, I pointed out the various routes to shut down an overactive plaintiff: reexamination regarding prior art, joint defense agreements and joining forces to share costs of a legal defense. All of those happened and it worked.

This isn't new, it's routine.

Re:Nothing new here, move along . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710291)

This isn't new, it's routine

Exactly. Dubious patents are expected to be tried in court. Many Slashdot posters seem to have the impression that the government is somehow a benevolent and omniscient agency that can carefully scrutinize an application, and then award a prize to the +5 insightful brilliant disruptive paradigm-shifting ideas only.

Instead, it's better to think of all patents as provisional until they're tried in court. Merely being granted a patent means little. They may or may not be worth anything at all.

And if you think about it, there's some sensibility in this. "Proper" patent examination is very costly. In fact, it would have about the same cost as a patent litigation, since that's exactly what the litigation is about. But you'd have to do it for every single patent application, not just the ones that come to trial.

And who wins again? (5, Insightful)

modder (722270) | about 10 years ago | (#8710265)

The lawyers.

Re:And who wins again? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710327)

Who the hell should win assrod? Lawyers are also here to defend people who are going to get fucked by other lawyers, so maybe you should be glad they are around. Just because you have no potential in any aspect of your life doesn't mean you should sit around posting one-line posts void of all content to this shitty site. GEEZ!

Re:And who wins again? (2, Insightful)

modder (722270) | about 10 years ago | (#8710361)

This is a glib oversimplification, but I'll bite within the 2 seconds before you get modded as a troll. Pretending the world is as simple as your post implies, then: "Lawyers are also here to defend people who are going to get fucked by other lawyers, so maybe you should be glad they are around." So if they were not around, I would not have to worry about getting "fucked by other lawyers." So why again should I be glad they are around?

Re:And who wins again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710403)

Because if you had to represent yourself you'd fuck, well, yourself. Getting rid of lawyers wouldn't get rid of laws.

Re:And who wins again? (2, Insightful)

modder (722270) | about 10 years ago | (#8710520)

If you look closely at my posts in this thread, you might notice that I never said we should do away with lawyers. You (or perhaps some other Anonymous Coward) attempted to put those words in my mouth with a ridiculous hypothetical situation. (Which was riddled with flawed logic, I might add.)

I simply pointed out the problems with this hypothetical.

There are several instances in our current legal system which need lawyers. There are also instances in which lawyers waste a lot of people's time and money. (Some might use a different word than waste.)

I would also suggest that there may be a better way of going about these things without lawyers as we know them today. Some huge shifts in how government and society operates could be discussed. This seems out of scope for this discussion. And if you are the same Anonymous Coward who replied to my original post, you would probably just flame me and make personal attacks if I even initiated such a discussion. (I base this on empirical evidence, of course. I could be wrong.)

And more to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710533)

That it's mostly lawyers who represent us and have seen fit to do nothing about the abismal state of the USPO.

Lawyers seem to thrive on the idea that not keeping things a fucked up as possable keeps them in constant jobs. In most any other profession they would be fired for incompitance on day 1.

Re:And who wins again? (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 10 years ago | (#8710656)

While that is often the case, I find it unfair that they are often referred to as thought they planned the whole thing. It is not as thought they had a meeting and decided that part of the group will sue and the other group will defend so the group can benefit as a whole. In general, lawyers and law students are very intelligent people who are active in pursuing what they believe and have often rendered charitable services.

I would rather blame the CEOs than the people who do their work. Lawyers work for both sides. The fact that one can usually find a lawyer to work for him guarantees access to our justice system.

The bad stuff cancels out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710702)

In general, lawyers and law students are very intelligent people who are active in pursuing what they believe and have often rendered charitable services.

Not "in general": just some of the time. The times that lawyers file frivolous lawsuits, or lie in court (such as trying to get someone off the hook that they know is guilty) are quite staggering. The law industry as a whole seems to have no problem with this, unfortunately. The lawyers are happy that the murderer walks free and can go play golf, as long as they got rich off it.

Should be jailed: the lawyer who tries to get a guilty man set free.

Should be applauded: the lawyer who tries to moderate the sentence of a guilty man to something that is fair but still a punishment (like from a death sentence to a life sentence). That is reasonable.

Re:The bad stuff cancels out (2, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 10 years ago | (#8711404)

The problem with that is a man is innocent until proven guilty, which is for the court to determine, not the lawyer. That's a consequence of due process.

Actual guilt vs court-guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8714547)

There is often a difference between actual guilt and court-determined guilt.

"The problem with that is a man is innocent until proven guilty, which is for the court to determine, not the lawyer"

If the lawyer knows the man is guilty, but presents a case which denies this, they are clearly obstructing justice. How can anyone deny that there is something pretty bad going on with this happens.

Re:And who wins again? (3, Insightful)

modder (722270) | about 10 years ago | (#8710751)

Agreed.

However, one has to start thinking that something is fundamentally wrong when so much time, effort and money go in to something which produces absolutely nothing.

(I'm not going to focus on who's to blame, the lawyers who do the work, the CEOs who want it done... etc)

If you follow the thread of a somewhat less eloquent poster who replied to this, I suggest there may be other alternatives (those I state none specifically) but I think we need to start looking at things in our legal system and change a lot of how we currently do things. (granted this may take another hundred or thousand years or more, if we're able to survive that long.)

I'm just saying there is a problem. I don't have the answers, but we need to acknowledge this as a first step anyway.

Patent Law - who's fault? (2, Interesting)

from_downunder (641743) | about 10 years ago | (#8711105)

A law that gives patents to obvious processes.
A legal system that discourages the use of ideas (remember the eolas v microsoft patent)
The white settlers of a large part of North America thought that patents of nobility were a tyranny.
Now you can get a patent for a file layout that is based on a standard.
Whose to blame?
Those taking advantage of the system?
Those who enforce the system?
Those who created the system?
Those who elected the creators of the system?

The Usual Suspect (1)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | about 10 years ago | (#8714020)

It's the Supreme Court of the United States, which refused to rein in the blatant abuses of the patent/copyright clauses of the Constitution. As it stands, "promoting the progress of the useful arts" is the same as "granting a stream of monopoly rents to people and organizations with skilled legal teams and good lobbyists."

McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710280)

These frivolous lawsuits remind me of the infamous McDonald's coffee lawsuit. That one is a textbook example of an utterly frivolous lawsuit.

A clumsy oaf bought McDonald's coffee, then proceded to dump it on herself. She then lied in the courtroom and collected thousands in ill-gotten gains, even though she was 100% at fault (McDonald's did not spill the coffee).

Excuse me. I just now used the delete command to delete a valuable Open Office document. It's all gone. I'm going to sue Open Office. It is all their fault! Bye!

Now with 100% more facts (4, Informative)

Liselle (684663) | about 10 years ago | (#8710351)

Blah, blah, blah. I guess you're probably trolling, but in case someone falls for it: the McDonald's lawsuit in question is a piss-poor example of a "frivolous" lawsuit. Two quick links explaining why:

Clicky [osmond-riba.org]
Clicky [lectlaw.com]

Now with 200% more facts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710546)

The two links you presented were to ambulance chasing crooked law firms, which profit from frivolous lawsuits like this. Of COURSE these crooked guys lie about the lawsuit, and you fell for it. Your links were 100% fact-free.

The McDonald's case is a textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit; a case utterly without merit. It helps make the case for tort reform much stronger.

Re:Now with 200% more facts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710583)

Sorry kid, it's too late now, mods are all asleep. Valiant effort, though.

Re:Now with 200% more facts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8720060)

Repeating yourself don't make you right :)

Even if those were "crooked" law firms (which you offer no supporting evidence -- hope they aren't or you could be sued for slander), that doesn't make what they say automatically wrong. Suspect? Maybe. But they have what appear to me to be very valid arguments and present them in a calm and persuasive voice. Compare with your statements.

In any case, you can find other links about that case which are not on Lawyer's sites. I believe Snopes has an article as well as Ask Jack. Just use google for $#%@ sake.

Here:

http://www.snopes.com/legal/lawsuits.asp

On google you will notice most of the places supporting your version of events have a much shallower basis, usually a dismissive sentence or two, than the other articles. Take from that what you will...

300% more facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8725377)

The crooked law firms even support the facts in the case, which cannot be denied:

the coffee was safe, as there were only 700 problem cases out of billions of cups sold and consumed

The plaintiff spilled the coffee herself. McDonald's did not spill it.

They just lie and try to weasel around things. They do not have valid arguments at all.

"I believe Snopes has an article..."

So? They are not a source of unbiased or truthful information. A great example of their "spin" is their silly attmept to get Gore off the hook for the time he took credit for inventing the Internet.

WARNING! DO NOT FOLLOW THOSE LINKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8712605)

They install an annoying talking animated giant mouse pointer.

"It looks like you're trying to surf the web. Would you like me to help with that?"

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (5, Informative)

ageoffri (723674) | about 10 years ago | (#8710353)

I used to think the same thing until someone pointed out the actual details of this lawsuit. It is defintely interesting. McDonald's was told repeatedly before this incident that they served coffee way too hot, something like 10-20F above the average. This lady just wanted a very small amount for medical bills, McDonald's bascially told her to go screw herself. In the end McDonalds was slapped with such a big fine because they were so far out of line with how they served the coffee in general and not because of the injuries to the old lady.

The actual details (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710538)

"I used to think the same thing until someone pointed out the actual details of this lawsuit"

You do not know the actual details.

"McDonald's was told repeatedly before this incident that they served coffee way too hot, something like 10-20F above the average"

Actually, that is the recommended serving temperature. McDonald's was selling coffee at the recommended serving temperature, which was how the customers wanted it. A detail you did not know.

"This lady just wanted a very small amount for medical bills"

But it was entirely her fault, since she dumped it. Another detail you overlook.

McDonald's bascially told her to go screw herself

As it should to anyone who begs for money with no reason.

the end McDonalds was slapped with such a big fine because they were so far out of line with how they served the coffee in general

Except they were entirely in line! A detail you forget. If you look at the miniscule number of burns per # of cups sold, it is something like a staggering 1 in 25,000,000.

After McDonald's was forced to serve the coffee too cold, the complaints greatly increased. Only after the frivolous lawsuit were they forced to be "out of line".

McFacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710634)

hey mctroll. McDonald's served boiling-hot coffee to its customers after numerous complaints. No one can drink coffee that hot. No one.

Something that burns someone severely 1 time out of 25,000,000 times used is too many. You can't get away with that.

Re:McFacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710666)

Even though the McDonalds Coffee woman has been discussed 25,000,000 times on the Internet, your post was one too many. Prepare to die.

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (3, Interesting)

casiowatch (596956) | about 10 years ago | (#8710913)

I used to think the same thing until someone pointed out the actual details of this lawsuit. It is defintely interesting. McDonald's was told repeatedly before this incident that they served coffee way too hot, something like 10-20F above the average. This lady just wanted a very small amount for medical bills, McDonald's bascially told her to go screw herself. In the end McDonalds was slapped with such a big fine because they were so far out of line with how they served the coffee in general and not because of the injuries to the old lady.
I don't even know why you are considering this. Over at stellaawards [stellaawards.com] it states how stupid this woman was and how wrong the lawsuit was. Here's the list they have posted:
The plaintiffs were apparently able to document 700 cases of burns from McDonald's coffee over 10 years, or 70 burns per year. But that doesn't take into account how many cups are sold without incident. A McDonald's consultant pointed out the 700 cases in 10 years represents just 1 injury per 24 million cups sold! For every injury, no matter how severe, 23,999,999 people managed to drink their coffee without any injury whatever. Isn't that proof that the coffee is not "unreasonably dangerous"?
Even in the eyes of an obviously sympathetic jury, Stella was judged to be 20 percent at fault -- she did, after all, spill the coffee into her lap all by herself. The car was stopped, so she presumably was not bumped to cause the spill. Indeed she chose to hold the coffee cup between her knees instead of any number of safer locations as she opened it. Should she have taken more responsibility for her own actions?

And...

Here's the Kicker: Coffee is supposed to be served in the range of 185 degrees! The National Coffee Association recommends coffee be brewed at "between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction" and drunk "immediately". If not drunk immediately, it should be "maintained at 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit". Exactly what, then, did McDonald's do wrong? Did it exhibit "willful, wanton, reckless or malicious conduct" -- the standard in New Mexico for awarding punitive damages?

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 10 years ago | (#8711054)

The National Coffee Association recommends coffee be brewed at "between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction" and drunk "immediately"
Wait. The "National Coffee Association" (the what?) says you're supposed to put large quantities of coffee in your mouth at 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit?

Am I seriously misreading this, or is the "National Coffee Association" (are they affiliated to the Ketchup Advisory Board?) a bunch of nutters?

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (1)

CKW (409971) | about 10 years ago | (#8716657)


The "National Coffee Association" reminds me of "The Tobacco Institute".

Oddly enough, the current "Tobacco Institute" [tobaccoinstitute.com] website is entirely geared towards "provide the public with access to documents produced by The Tobacco Institute in Attorney General reimbursement lawsuits and certain other specified civil actions"

I'm sure they just forgot to mention that you should only "drink immediately" in tiny little 5ml increments, and that conveying said large quantities of "scalding water" should only be undertaken in suitable spill containment systems.

I mean, anything else would be negligent.

Let alone actually KNOWING about a hundred critical incidents and doing absolutely nothing to mitigate the obvious statistical certainty that a hundred more critical incidents WILL occur should nothing change.

It was rather safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8717967)

"Let alone actually KNOWING about a hundred critical incidents and doing absolutely nothing to mitigate the obvious statistical certainty that a hundred more critical incidents WILL occur should nothing change."

How about the rest of the facts? These critical incidents amounted to 1 of 25,000,000 cups sold. Everyone* was able to drink the coffee served at this temperature with no problem at all (the * is for the negigibile amount who couldn't, like the idiot who dumped it in her lap and filed this famous frivolous lawsuit).

Re:It was rather safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8718999)

Could I ask you to prove the point for us all by heating some water to 185F and gulping it down immediately, just to demonstrate that it's perfectly safe and people would actually want to drink it at that temperature?

I mean, it's a point that keeps coming up - people want it scalding hot, apparently. Given this is true (fact), you should have no problem demonstrating to us what a safe practice it is.

Facts on the McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (5, Informative)

ottergigas (620046) | about 10 years ago | (#8710369)

My apologies if this seems offtopic, but I just need to point out that not all cases that appear frivolous are truly frivolous. Found via Snopes, from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, here are the actual facts of the McDonald's coffee spill case:

Facts Sheet: McDonald's Scalding Coffee Case [atlanet.org]

Lies from a political pressure group (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710564)

".... from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, here are the actual facts of the McDonald's coffee spill case...."

This group is known for a few things, including:

lying in the courtroom during their cases. Why wouldn't they lie on their web site?

They are a powerful special interest group that lobbies Congress against any restrictions on frivolous lawsuits.

Come on. You can do better than "this lawsuit is not frivolous because the crooked attorney's lobby says it is not frivolous!"

Not all cases are frivolous. Based on the facts, this one clearly is.

Re:Lies from a political pressure group (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710720)

Why exactly should we take any of your arguments seriously given you're the sort of person who resorts to ad-hominem arguments?

Seriously though, if you can disprove the points made by the ATLA concerning this case, please do. They look pretty solid to me.

Easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710800)

Easily disproven. The ATLA is not interested in the facts at all, especially when their bread and butter is threatened (if someone cut off profiteering from frivolous lawsuits):

From their site:

"As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap"

Nice misleading wording. The cup spilled itself. Anything but mention that she spilled it (which would be admitting that it is her fault). McDonald's and their defective leaping cups!

"During discovery, McDonald's produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992"

In typical misleading fashion, they forget to mention that this 700 is out of billions of cups purchased at this same temperature and consumed during this same time period. Do the math; it was quite safe.

"He also testified that McDonald's had decided not to warn customers about the possibility of severe burns"

McDonald's, in fact, did. The coffee has always been labelled as "hot coffee". Hot means something. Everyone is taught caution around hot liquids. Even the lady who filed the frivolous lawsuit: the ATLA site leaves out the fact that this same lady had bought many cups of the same temperature at the same McDonald's in the past, and had consumed them with no problem.

That ATLA sheet is not a fact sheet. It is a spin-laden press release from a scared pressure group that was caught in one of the worst frivolous lawsuits.

"Further, McDonald's quality assurance manager testified that the company actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees"

This same paragraph leaves out that this is the recommended serving temperature for coffee. It does, however, include the lie "was not fit for consumption". If 24,999,999 out of 25,000,000 are able to consume it with no problem, it looks quite "fit for consumption".

"This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at fault in the spill."

This account by the ATLA is actually factual, but it does show something odd. Unless McDonald's cups are animated and leap and spill themselves, it is clear that she is 100% to blame for the spill. It took a lot of lying in the courtroom to get them to believe that she is only partially responsible for her own action.

"Post-verdict investigation found that the temperature of coffee at the local Albuquerque McDonald's had dropped to 158 degrees Fahrenheit"

This is when the cold coffee complaints increased greatly. McDonald's was no longer able to serve the coffee its customers wanted.

That ATLA sheet is not a fact sheet. It leaves out the most important facts of the lady's guilt for the spill and the safety of McDonald's product. It is a spin-laden press release from a scared pressure group that was caught in one of the worst frivolous lawsuits.

Re:Easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8716453)

You make some valid points and some not-so-valid points.
Nice misleading wording. The cup spilled itself. Anything but mention that she spilled it (which would be admitting that it is her fault). McDonald's and their defective leaping cups!
I think actually one of the problems with the McDonalds suit is that the focus was on the temperature rather than the larger picture. You do expect a server of coffee to provide appropriate containers for the coffee within, and the flimsy polystyrene cups with crap plastic covers that are the mainstay of the business are certainly not appropriate for serving scalding coffee to people in motor vehicles.

In this respect, I don't believe the wording is misleading. Had the woman removed the top, we might be talking about a very different situation, but she didn't, the coffee came out because of a movement of the car caused the cup to tip and the cup wasn't remotely strong enough to contain liquids once tipped.

In typical misleading fashion, they forget to mention that this 700 is out of billions of cups purchased at this same temperature and consumed during this same time period. Do the math; it was quite safe.
It's certainly not "billions" though it would have been a lot of coffee. The 700 incidents were because of poor design and because McDonalds didn't correct the design making the same assumption as you did. Additionally, we're only talking about 700 reported incidents.

It's 700 incidents too many. You can't fail to correct a flaw because you don't think it happens often enough.

This same paragraph leaves out that this is the recommended serving temperature for coffee. It does, however, include the lie "was not fit for consumption". If 24,999,999 out of 25,000,000 are able to consume it with no problem, it looks quite "fit for consumption".
Now, sir, you are the one employing sophestry. Nobody consumes coffee at 185F, it certainly is not fit for consumption at that temperature. You can bet that your "24,999,999" figure consists of people who waited several minutes before even sipping the coffee. And few of them were in the unfortunate position of having the coffee spill on them, while still hot.
This account by the ATLA is actually factual, but it does show something odd. Unless McDonald's cups are animated and leap and spill themselves, it is clear that she is 100% to blame for the spill. It took a lot of lying in the courtroom to get them to believe that she is only partially responsible for her own action.
Whether she was responsible for spilling the coffee (which, as I pointed out above, is probably not mostly the case given the container was clearly a faulty design - no, it doesn't have to leap and spill, it just needs to easily fail in ordinary circumstances, such as the one in this case), the fact is McDonalds is partially or mostly to blame. You might just as well argue it's her fault because she should have bought the coffee from Burger King.
This is when the cold coffee complaints increased greatly. McDonald's was no longer able to serve the coffee its customers wanted.
Sure, right, whatever. People were complaining their coffee was still too hot to drink right away but not as hot as it was previously?

Clue for you: nobody actually wants 185F coffee. Nobody. Seriously. It's too hot. You can't drink it at that temperature.

If you can remove lid, coffee container is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8725531)

"Had the woman removed the top"

Ermmm. check all accounts of the case. This is part of court record. She did remove the top.

"to tip and the cup wasn't remotely strong enough to contain liquids once tipped."

You need physics/engineering 101. Or perhaps kindergarten. It is not a matter of "strength of the cup". If you take the STRONGEST possible container (imagine a cylinder of titanium) filled with liquid, and remove the top, and tip it on its side, the liquid WILL come out. It is physics. It has nothing to do with the strength or weakness of the side materials. If you have entirely removed the top, the stuff will come out.

"Had the woman removed the top, we might be talking about a very different situation"

So, it is a very different situation. Changing your tune now?

"Clue for you: nobody actually wants 185F coffee"

That is not true. Clue for you: complaints about cold coffee greatly inreased after McDonald's made the coffee too cold as a result of the lawsuit.

"given the container was clearly a faulty design"

A coffee cup where you can remove the lid is "faulty"?

"Now, sir, you are the one employing sophestry. Nobody consumes coffee at 185F"

No, you are. Your error rate is astounding. Billions of cups of this coffee were sold and consumed with no problem (other than the 700).

"It's 700 incidents too many. You can't fail to correct a flaw because you don't think it happens often enough."

You have yet to show a "flaw" to be corrected. Perhaps some of these cases involved faulty cups, but you have mentioned none. Yes, any incident of someone hurting themself by doing something stupid is unfortunate, but the blame should lie where the blame is. It is a tragedy that someone stabs themself in the eye with a butterknife, but it is not the fault of the company that sold the butterknife.

"You might just as well argue it's her fault because she should have bought the coffee from Burger King"

No, it is her fault because she did the action that resulted in the burn. However, it should also be pointed out that she had purchased and consumed many cups from the same exact McDonald's previously with no problem.

"It's certainly not "billions" though it would have been a lot of coffee"

It certainly is billions. McDonald's sells a billion cups of coffee per year. The 700 burn incidents were over 10 years, so that is 10 billion. You certainly "don't do numbers" do you?

"Additionally, we're only talking about 700 reported incidents"

Reported, actual: same thing. You have no evidence that the numbers are different, do you?
We can only base discussion of this on the facts, now. Don't try to bolster your case by making up incidents that there is no evidence of: "700 is not enough. I guess there are more, so I'll pad the number for the hell of it!"

I can just imagine your faulty logic getting laughed out of the courtroom if you were a lawyer. "You must convict Sam Jones. We caught him robbing 2 banks, but surely he robbed a lot more than this! I just know it! Send him to jail because he robbed 10... no 20 banks.!"

You also keep referring to "faulty design", but in this case the cup held up exactly as it was supposed to. If you can come up with examples of bad cups used by McDonald's you might have a case. You haven't.

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710479)

This isn't the only case. There's also Apple's ripping off customers with the iPod batteries that it refuses to fix and requires people throw away their iPods for, and Al Gore's outrageous claim "It was me that invented the Internet, Jon Postel and Vint Cert are dweebs".

Al Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710587)

Come on, now, We all know Al Gore invented the Internet and won the 2000 election. Someone said he killed *BSD, too. (I think it was Rush Limbaugh)

Re:McDonald's frivolous lawsuit (1)

Boss Sauce (655550) | about 10 years ago | (#8711600)

OT but here goes-- give up this iPod battery thing. MANY MANY MANY things have soldered-in rechargeable batteries that CAN be replaced by authorized service centers. My Bosch electric razor recently died and it was not difficult to replace the battery myself with a little hot solder.

ON topic, though, it seems like, um, PanIP sucks like a slashdot spammer... mod child up!

I knew that last week - REJECTED (4, Informative)

Jayfar (630313) | about 10 years ago | (#8710345)

PanIP e-commerce patent suits withdrawn
20:52 Thursday 25 March 2004 Rejected

Yeah, I know, go ahead mod me down for bitchin about it and after all, stories like "Pokemon Game Boy Advance Update," that appeared that day really were more "stuff that matters."

Re:I knew that last week - REJECTED (2, Informative)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#8710436)

Hey, I got rejected when I posted the story on March 23.

I made the mistake of not including a link to the previous Slashdot article on the subject, I bet.

Re:I knew that last week - REJECTED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710945)

Do what I do and DON't SUBMIT STORIES! Its a fuckin waste of time unless its a highly sensationalistic fluff piece about some country's government thinking about using Linux. That's about the only way your story will be accepted.

Slashdot's Hidden Secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710938)

Slashdot's stories are queued up weeks in advance. Someone submitted this story much earlier and it was put in the submission queue. Editors only randomly browse for "breaking" stories a few times a day, and those get posted immediately. Ever wonder why it seems that stories are posted, on average, every 90 minutes on Slashdot? A perl script randomly chooses the delay between stories and pulls up the next one from the queue. There are usually around a hundred stories already in the queue at any one time.

So there you have it. Slashdot is completely automated on the server side and generates money for the Slashdot owners because millions of slashbot idiots (like myself) provide page views, ad revenue, comments, and the moderation which makes it successful. Do your part and kick the habit while there's still hope. For myself, I plan to join my local support group (Slashdotters Anonymous Cowards) and share my pain with like-minded people.

Re:Slashdot's Hidden Secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8714983)

Reminds me of a bash.org quote...
#2952 +(49)- [X]

<nstylz> i want to make a site that the people run it and then just forget about it and watch the $ go in
<Deadbolt> sorry, we already have a slashdot

Precedence (3, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | about 10 years ago | (#8710355)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent ..."


Yeah. It sets the precedent that small businesses should work together to establish a "technology, business process and other silly patents defense fund" to deter such behavior in the future.

Re:Precedence (1)

Sensitive Claude (709959) | about 10 years ago | (#8710385)

Yeah. It sets the precedent that small businesses should work together to establish a "technology, business process and other silly patents defense fund" to deter such behavior in the future.

But what if someone files a patent on that as a method of defending your business against ridiculous patents?

Quick, Someone file this before someone EVIL does.
(Anyone EVIL please ignore the previous line.)

Re:Precedence (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | about 10 years ago | (#8710406)

But what if someone files a patent on that as a method of defending your business against ridiculous patents?

:-) Slashdot already has my record of prior art. :-)

SCO mergers with PANIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710452)

You may pay for your "IP" license thru Passport!

PANIP Spin machine, really funny (4, Informative)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | about 10 years ago | (#8710523)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: William G. Wilhelm 858-454-7095 Raymond Mercado rmercado@panip.com


PanIP Settles All Litigation With The "You May Be Next" Defendants

San Diego, CA March 24, 2004. PanIP, LLC is pleased to announce that as of March 19, 2004, it has settled all outstanding litigation with the members of the "PanIP Group Defense Fund, Inc.," the originators of the You May Be Next website. PanIP released those defendants from liability by issuing them covenants not to sue under a confidential settlement agreement. Currently, PanIP has no outstanding litigation in relation to its United States Patent Portfolio.

In the fall of 2002, PanIP filed suit against 40 individual defendants in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, California, alleging that those defendants were infringing claims in U.S. Patents Nos. 6,289,319 B1 and 5,576,951. Shortly after PanIP initiated suit, a group of sixteen defendants formed the "PanIP Group Defense Fund" in an effort to defeat the patents. Their efforts, like those of another group defense fund formed in 2002, were fruitless. Since 2002, when PanIP began enforcing its intellectual property rights, all parties that have been sued for patent infringement have settled with PanIP and the cases have been dismissed.

PanIP, LLC is a technology development company that holds a number of United States and Canadian high-impact patents. Several additional patent applications are pending.

For more information about PanIP, LLC, please visit www.panip.com

Some interesting stuff, Currently, PanIP has no outstanding litigation in relation to its United States Patent Portfolio. This makes me think the other 24 suits have been dropped. Their efforts, like those of another group defense fund formed in 2002, were fruitless. Seems like they where fruitful in getting you to drop your suits. Perhaps more judges theatening to force companies to pay the legal bills of defendents in questionable patent lawsuits may prevent these things in the future.

Re:PANIP Spin machine, really funny (1)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#8710605)

At the risk of sounding like Chandler on Friends, could PanIP be any more ridiculous?

Fruitless? FRUITLESS?!

If the patents get invalidated, I'd hardly call that fruitless.

I'm glad to hear that they don't have any litigation going on. As far as their "additioan patent applications," they can stick 'em where the sun don't shine.

Re:PANIP Spin machine, really funny (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8711579)

Fruitless? FRUITLESS?!

If the patents get invalidated, I'd hardly call that fruitless.


This group of defendants is folding before seeing it to that end...

Re:PANIP Spin machine, really funny (1)

The I Shing (700142) | about 10 years ago | (#8713151)

No, the ball is already rolling, I think, on the re-examination. Lawrence Lockwood will, no doubt, appeal if the patents are invalidated, but it's out of the defense group's hands at this point, I believe.

Re:PANIP Spin machine, really funny (1)

yack0 (2832) | about 10 years ago | (#8711221)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: William G. Wilhelm

I thought I heard him screaming [roverandom.com] about this last week. ;)

Re:PANIP Spin machine, really funny (1)

Halo1 (136547) | about 10 years ago | (#8712388)

Some interesting stuff, Currently, PanIP has no outstanding litigation in relation to its United States Patent Portfolio. This makes me think the other 24 suits have been dropped.
Or the others settled...

Perhaps.. (2, Funny)

Cyberglich (525256) | about 10 years ago | (#8710551)

Perhaps the head of PanIP found a dead fish in his bed :)

Re:Perhaps.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8712458)

Perhaps the head of PanIP found a dead fish in his bed :)

Could have been worse, like waking up with a live fish in the bed. "Hmm, what is this all water doing here? Uh, why am I in the bottom of the ocean????"

Waste of resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8710675)

Well - here we are are again watching ourselves waste more time in patent shakedowns etc.
Not exactly America's finest hour is it?

Now if Pan had to pay reasonable legal costs of the 50 defendants, this sort of shit would go away.

This approach is used successfully by many other countries.

Stupid corporate execs. (2, Interesting)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | about 10 years ago | (#8711335)

Hopefully this will set some sort of precedent

The only thing that sets legal precedent is published appellate court case results. Since this didn't go to an appellate court (it sounds like it didn't go to any court), this isn't going to set any kind of legal precedent.

Perhaps you mean, "Hopefully, this will enlighten stupid fucking multinational corporations, whose board of directors thinks they are entitled to eternal perpetually increasing profits at the expense of others, that they can't fuck with this community."

PanIP?! Oh for God's sake! (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#8711644)

That's it!

I would like to hereby announce that I am going to finally sue those jokers for trademark infringement, using my good name and/or shameful stealing of my IP. Furthermore, I claim patents over basic metabolic (as well as e-metabolic) functions, therefore please stop breathing as soon as possible. You will do a great favor for the whole e-ndustry and humanity at large. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Pan with IP shamefully stolen.

The only thing that would create a precedent... (2, Interesting)

o'reor (581921) | about 10 years ago | (#8712013)

IMHO is if PanIP was to be legally stomped to the ground by a countersuit, the way SCO will probably end up thanks to IBM, Novell and RedHat.

Anything less will still leave a door open for legal thugs to try and mug small businesses on the grounds of ridiculous claims on abusively granted patents (on obvious business methods and such).

The business world would be a safer place with those jailbirds slammed to where they belong.

PAN-IP was a fraud... and I found them. (3, Informative)

Geminus (602334) | about 10 years ago | (#8713006)

A co-worker and I went to check this PAN-IP company out... after all I'm just a lowly reporter for a small e-zine! Guess what, 329 Laurel Street in San Diego is a spot to park your car... not your butt. There's no office there. I tracked down the PAN-IP owner's house... and it's in tatters within a location called South Park San Diego. Really, the place is a shit-hole and in disarray. My guess is they needed money to pay the mortgage on the tired old house. PAN-IP was a scam folks. Challenge them completely and countersue. Watch this bottom feeder move into Barrio Logan.

PanIP's reply mischaracterizes the outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8713420)

Their web site has a statement claiming that the 'youmaybenext' folks were 'fruitless' in their attempts to defeat the patents. This leaves the implication that they paid the license fees when, in fact, they did not. PanIP was faced with $19K in SLAPP fines and it's obvious that being a 'one-man-band' he didn't have the funds, so he agreed to drop the infringement claim if the 'youmaybenext' folks dropped the SLAPP fees they were entitled to.

The youmaybenext folks won this battle.

PanIP won't sue the next group of defendents that band together to fight lawsuits brought by this weasel using his submarine patents, that's for sure.

Sometimes when you ignore lawyers they go away (1)

serutan (259622) | about 10 years ago | (#8718565)

I got one of those letters, not from PanIP but from some other clowns, who claim to have invented the idea of downloading media files over the web. They cited the presence of a couple mpegs on my web server as proof that I was using their technology without permission, and insisted that I contact them to discuss licensing. I trashed the letter and never heard from them again.
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