I agree with clavelle's comment. It's not so much the laws, but the system that allows this to occur.
Link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4n08jj/developer_i...
Isn't this a blatant conflict of interest? If this isn't grounds for disbarment, what is?
(i.e the Judges Son tries a case with a different Judge in town, but that Judge is buddies with the other Judges.)
So there's no allegation that Judge Davis (now retired) actually presided over any of his son's cases, merely that his son stood to benefit from the overall patent-troll friendly climate of the Eastern District court. Not really a clear-cut recusal situation. If anything, the fact that his son's firm represents trolls and victims alike meant there was less reason for a specific bias on behalf of the judge.
One of those 3 letter federal agencies, that government spends $billions on, needs to look at this "not really clear cut situation".
The bit about "specific bias" is interesting. I wouldn't assume that the judge is biased for or against patent trolls, but his position gives him reason to be biased for patent trolling, which isn't quite the same. It would be to the advantage of his son to make a big deal out of cases which don't deserve it. Accepting cases about ridiculous patents would do that, as would encouraging trials for patent cases which are obviously legitimate.
Whether that's happening or not I have no idea, but he clearly has an incentive to keep things stirred up in this area.
The situation is that with patent suits able to be brought anywhere and brought in East Texas by preference, a significant amount of that areas economy is now based on this racket and so the culture of the area is very oriented towards enable patent trolls, especially given a general contempt of outsiders characteristic of a small town.
In the pre-Internet era, one needed to take an unlucky to get murdered or shaken down by the corrupt culture of Smokey And The Bandit style US small towns. The ambiguity of the law and the convenience of entrenched interests now means that
It's been going on for a long time.
Recent article: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/How-east-Tex...
2006 article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/business/24ward.html?pagew...
Choice quote: "'During the TiVo-EchoStar trial, 90 percent of my revenue for one month came from one of the law firms in the case,' said Phillip W. Gurganus, manager of the local 68-room Hampton Inn, where rates run $77 a night." Guess what he'd chose if got on a jury? Certainly a decision that kept business in East Texas.
How is this not legally considered a conflict of interest in cases where the judge had relation to one side of the case? I don't know much about the law system but I would assume their are provisions in place to prevent these types of conflicts.
It's enough to just point out what the article/video says, like your second sentence does.
They certainly don't have to and I'm not sure if Apple or Microsoft do or not for their equivalents, but I know Microsoft offers patent indemnification for a lot of things these days. It would be in Google's best interest to have a patent indemnification policy for Google Play store.
I'd love to know what the actual numbers look like but I'd be willing to bet that the costs are extremely low since it works as a deterrent to these kinds of lawsuits. Patent trolls go after these lone developers because they'll settle rather than incur the cost. It's an easy buck. This guy didn't make Google Play, he didn't write the code that "supposedly" infringed on the patent. He simply used it because that's the only way for practical purposes to publish an Android app. And since the patent covers a large set of features that Play uses for licensing, he couldn't have published through Play and not infringed in the eyes of Uniloc. The law allows anyone in the chain (including the guy playing with the Flight Simulator) to be sued for infringement, but they'd be very unlikely to do this kind of garbage if they knew Google would bring their legal team into the fold. By not protecting their developers, Google has a deterrent to people using their platform.
It's only a matter of time until a patent troll writes a for loop on the store index to send out infringement suits DMCA-takedown style.
Perhaps a competing troll owns the iteration patent.
#define whenceforth for
#define whereas else
#define true false
#define static thread_local
#define if(X) if((X) ^ (rand() < 1000))
#define private public
#define while if
You can also do even more weird things with it, like X macros
Edit: Not saying Boost is idiotic; just that you may not be positively impressed with their use of preprocessor magic.
totalMoney = googlePlayAuthors.reduce((money, author) => money + abusePatentSystem(author), 0)
Consider how Google is helping the OEMs get Android updates out. Consider how easy it is to call google customer care.
The real question should be: what the fuck developers? Why do you keep hitching yourself to such an unreliable partner? When is it enough?
Very hard road to travel though.
¹ — https://f-droid.org/
Slack desktop is a webapp packed in native wrapper.
Google, and Apple and Valve, can send their own lawyers to defend these clients, but since there are dozens of cases, it will be quite expensive. They can maybe sue these trolls for tortous interference, but that may not stick.
So they can't do much.
They could also take the first app developer to get sued under the patent and pay for them to file a CBM review. Or file an IPR or PGR in their own right seeking to invalidate the patent.
IANAL, but I suspect this is exceedingly rare.
Plus Google can claim litigation costs.
Also clearly there is a damage to reputation of the Google, since we are discussing here that they need to get involved in this case. I am not sure if they can get compensated for that as well.
This is what I could find. I think the suits were dropped.
"Why are we forced to fight for ourselves?!"
I'm also curious why numerous developers have not demanded an Insurance Protection Product / Plan that would take a premium in return for subrogation (defense) if a frivolous Patent Suit is filed. I'm rather certain the market exists and while it may be for larger businesses or players, developers forming a Mutual Company and writing on some big name AM Best A paper (or even going to Lloyds) could be helpful.
Anybody know of such an organization or idea?
I guess my line of thinking here is that "Yes, this is totally unfair and rigged" and then move on to "How do I work around the issues, at least to a limited extent, to avoid these pitfalls?" Sign me up for reform, sure, I'm all for it. Until then, I don't like banging my head against walls, I prefer to figure out ways around or over them.
It would be very cool if company such as NewEgg could offer this - they already have the in-house counsel/expertise; and since the number of people trolled is very small, I'm sure even a small premium would be enough to cover it (provided you have enough customers).
I have a fair amount of experience with patent trolls.
I've seen companies sued for using facebook, where the damages are X dollars times the number of facebook followers/posts/comments they have. (So the level of risk is very hard to estimate for an insurer, because interaction numbers on the internet can spike easily)
Also, the the troll will practically _always_ offers a settlement that is roughly equivalent (or a few percent cheaper) than the legal fees to defend and win the case. -So a company has two options: Spend Y dollars to make it go away; or Spend Y*0.99 dollars and a year of wasted time to _maybe_ win. The system is setup such that Patent Trolls can't lose and companies can't really win.
I suspect part of the problem is that the monetary and time costs of litigation could not be easily measured. Every case would be, effectively, unique. Not insurmountable, but I have to imagine that the premiums would need to be very high.
And as a bonus, you can generate a Newegg-like reputation to convince people that you're not worth bothering.
Pooling these cases, and the information gleaned from the tactics, might reveal patterns and/or pressure points for resistance that an Insurance Team would be willing to underwrite and hire defense for. The point is that if the Insurance Team is good at getting results, then in theory, fewer Patent Troll cases will arise, and the Insruance Company gets to pile up reserves for potential cases and make a profit concurrently.
Then, as you mention, just being a vetted participant and using the logo "Insured Against Patent Trolls By XYZ" can be a deterrent. Takes time, I understand, and it may be a very limited market. I'm just curious if the math and legal defense strategies can be combined in some ways. Thanks again for your postulations.
So in the end it's a choice between capitulating and paying some amount (and perhaps unleashing more trolls in the future) or wasting millions and many many hours of your time over years of your life defending yourself.
There's no way to win, which is why this is now a big industry.
If enough people buy insurance to make sure that the patent trolls never win, then there's no money to be made and the lawyers stop suing. So the price of insurance goes down. It's not like insuring against tornados, which are going to happen regardless of whether the houses are insured. Furthermore, you can state up front "IP Lawsuit Coverage provided by XXX" as a disincentive for people to sue their members in the first place.
My impression is they'd rather not go to court, since there's always a chance they could have their patent busted.
See medical malpractice insurance for another example.
For small companies, that's a great proposition because a small monthly fee can be planned for, while a patent suit is do or die find very expensive legal support.
He visits East Texas and shows that the 'offices' of the 'companies' that hold each patent are empty shells.
Tl;dr: He visits the listed offices of several dozen patent trolls in East Texas, including one directly across from the court house. Each one is empty with no sign of human activity. One has a secretary who claims the address is the accounting firm for those businesses. Then one person comes out to say that he is "a representative" of the businesses, and that those businesses "are based in East Texas" though. He recites one sentence about patents being property and then the video creator is kicked out.
1) The patent reason is a giveaway what they were really up to. 2) Why would you only hire part-time students? They were simply trying to build up a credible reputation in the community as a "small, local shop hiring locals" going against the big guys.
In one case you're jut trying to set your company up to avoid paying too much taxes, in the other you're forcing the people you're trolling to a) travel far from home to defend themselves against your likely unfair lawsuit, and b) be at a disadvantage in front of a judge who is known to tilt things in your favor.
What about actual patent violations?
"Their" in this case being "Google Play" product and any liability arising from the use of thereof.
One of these troll companies made $30 million a year doing this and they are even listed on the stock exchange!!
That is why that one copier patent troll (can't remember the specifics) files suit against businesses that purchase copier, but not the manufactures themselves.
It's appalling how limp this business is when it comes to demonstrating political muscle
edit: It'd actually be pretty effective if you stop to think about it, even if it doesn't technically prevent litigation.
Just think: "Sorry, this product isn't available in you're area due to patent litigation concerns". Part of me wonders if that happened with Netflix, Google Maps, etc. wouldn't the people start hating the patent litigation instead of being content with it?
He had just won a three year litigation with the same group, after which they pointed out that even though he had won a battle, they had enough BS patents to keep him in court for several lifetimes. He is currently in year 4 out of a projected 450.
The state can pretty much do whatever it wants here.
Plus, all of this is federal anyway, so suing the state of texas would accomplish nothing.
Outside of random statutes, your best bet would probably be due process violations, but ...
They have essentially grounded these claims in due process violations, etc, and then found a right to file those lawsuits. Not a right to sue for anything.
When they have tried to find rights in the right to petition (and i will grant that historically, it included a right to sue), it has been cases where someone is directly trying to affect a constitutional right.
Also nobody has to give a damn about what you say:
"Nothing in the First Amendment or in this Court's case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to communications of members of the public on public issues."
It's sensational and scummy sounding, so it really fits the narrative of the evil patent trolls (a narrative I wholeheartedly support), I don't see any reason to believe it's true.
https://popehat.com/2016/06/06/lawsplainer-when-must-federal... Article is in the context of Trump, but you needn't let that turn you off.
I say slay the trolls, slay the judges, slay them all - by legal means if possible. I would love to find an old Texas law that allows trial by combat with no substitutions...
In a nutshell, if you think beating someone up to get what you want is wrong, then you must necessarily think that military force is wrong, and maintaining a military force is also wrong.
You can also look at some pretty extreme examples: if you're a Jew in 1930-something Germany or one of the nations it occupied, and a bunch of soldiers are coming to take you to the camps, is it unethical for you to use violence against them? Of course, you might argue that's a bad example because the other side already initiated the use of (or threat of; they're carrying guns) violence so you had the right of self-defense. But that's no different than having a legal system that you feel is unjust: if you don't agree with the legal system's ruling and resist or ignore it, then they'll send men with guns to force you into submission using violence.
Now you can argue that there's a huge difference in magnitude between being taken to death camps and losing a patent case and having to give a large sum of money to a patent troll, but I think the principle is the same, it's just a difference in degree. All human conflict is like this: we have systems we try to use to avoid solving our differences with violence, but at times, these systems fail and at least one party feels the price/risk is worth it. Luckily, if you look at the entirety of human history, the amount of violence has been steadily falling, and we're probably at the least violent point in history, if you look at humanity as a whole.
Patent trolls don't rise (sink) to the level of child molesters, serial killers or ISIS terrorists, but still... I wouldn't shed any tears if something really bad happened to these people, whether by accident or design. They attack the best of us while contributing nothing. We don't need them.
- Somali pirates and Congolese poachers: poor and miserable conditions with no perspective to get out of it
- patent trolls: greedy, moral-less legal positivists
- serial killers: psychopaths
- ISIS terrorists: brainwashed losers, who want easy answers, a mission, a group and a leader
- child molesters: I would say mentally ill
If you see it like this, you can fix the problems below. You will still have to protect society from serial killers, but all others seem to be solvable.
- African criminals: fix Africa
- legal positivists: fix the law
- ISIS terrorists: fix ghettos
- child molesters: fix paedophilia
Of course this will only fix the problem for future generations. Potential patent trolls will be assholes in a post-troll world, too, but you will always have to deal with those. There are paedophiles who are not human scum, but are aware what consequences their actions could have. That is also why the catholic church with its celibacy is so attractive to some of them.
I personally think that institutions must act perfectly morally, but personally affected individuals should be required ultima ratio to act against morals and be later judged and punished for it. So in this case, when you are a small developer and there is no way out …
Patent trolls aren't much different from serial killers, though: they're both socio/psychopaths (same thing really). Patent trolls aren't violent, and are greedy for money, that's the main difference. But the law itself you could say is a work-around for problems like this, but as we see here the law is broken and needs to be fixed because the sociopaths have figured out a way to abuse the law for their gain.
Depends on your point of view. In the point of view of a paedophile, sterilisation might not seem like a fix, society itself thinks different.
>Patent trolls aren't much different from serial killers, though: they're both socio/psychopaths (same thing really)
I thought so, too, but then did decided to not call them that, because I imagine that many of them are just not "into market economy" (you get money in exchange for providing value). They see a gap in the law and try to take it from "the big guys", who have it anyway. There are many other groups of people, who think that they are somehow entitled to get money they did not provide value for.
There's a difference between suing Google or MS for patent violations, and suing some small business that's just selling an app on Google Play store. These patent trolls are frequently going after small companies because they know they're more likely to settle. That's sociopathic, it's not like Robin Hood.
Under no circumstances should anyone do any of those things, because that would be wrong.
(And, more seriously, I hope you never have a good excuse to try.)
For example I learned a lot from this video: in case I decided to sell an app on any store, I'd better contact my lawyer to get advised on where and how to incorporate my company.
I don't know if it can be easily resolved by incorporating in another country, but the difficulties of an international litigation should discourage trolls.
Also, companies just don't sue each other that often. I don't know why US is different.
Google should fix it, East-Texas should fix it, Texas should fix it, donation to legal funds should fix it, insurance should fix it, more campaigning and lobbying should fix it, we should let them fight to the death that will fix it!
Hmhm. Quite :)
Except they are blaming the legal system, as you yourself enumerate:
> more campaigning and lobbying should fix it
Campaigning and lobbying are ways of effecting change to the system of laws.
Yes of course they are. But that way those with the biggest army of lobbyists and campaign donations are going to decide what your laws will be. This is part of your problem, not your solution!
Ban software patents!
And big companies do not really want competition from small businesses.
Honest question: have anyone seen any software innovation been really protected by a patent litigation? All articles I have seen are about trolls.
Has anyone seen any innovation that has been really protected by patents, that couldn't have been protected merely with trade secrets and industrial capability (i.e., big companies are physically and organizationally able to make things that small companies cannot due to their resources, therefore they're really the last ones to need patent protection, but they're also the ones most able to afford spending huge sums of money on patent fees and enforcement)?
"Ric Richardson is an Australian inventor. He is the holder of multiple granted patents including the Uniloc patent US5490216 and the Logarex patent 6400293. Although he spent twelve years in California to promote and develop products produced by Uniloc, Richardson grew up in Sydney and currently resides just outside Byron Bay.
He is the founder of Uniloc, a company based on the technology he first patented in 1992."
Here's his picture from the Uniloc web site:
He's apparently insanely talented, having "invented" the panic button, the visual voice recorder, the 3G skype phone, the secure browser, the universal database, the carbon scrubber, the book dispensor, "media objects", the "Internet Computer", QR Codes, DRM, a password replacement system, TV muting, and several dozen other devices, just in the past 16 years alone.
Am thinking these activities devalue the terms invention and inventor. Would prefer that to patent some process that you had invented you ought to have to come up with a device to implement said process. You may not even know how to realise your idea in practise which is kind of where all the hard work is. An not saying idea for processes are ten a penny but the bar needs to be raised.
Patent trolls file these frivolous lawsuits because they make millions and suffer zero consequences for their actions. Why? Because there is no industry trade group representing the software industry with any sort of teeth. They know software developers have money, and they know software developers are absurdly weak when it comes to defending themselves. Software developers are easy prey.
Other than the EFF who is out there to represent us with any measure of real leverage over the legal process? Who is out there with the muscle to make patent trolls and software unfriendly lawmakers have second thoughts when targeting developers?
With no lobbies or trade associations with any sort of power out there representing consumer software, anyone with even minor influence over government can simply walk all over software developers, again and again and again. The consumer software industry has enormous amounts of cash at it's disposal, surely a few cash rich companies can pool enough resources together to kick off a trade association worthy of punching back, hard
I'm told, you may be put to trial in East Texas, if you're selling your goods or services there. – So, why not stop selling to East Texas and let them settle the resulting collision of interests themselves?
(2) There is an active legal challenge to the existing rules (arguing that they misapply two separate provisions of law as if one controls a definition in the other, when that is not the case), which if successful would radically shake up patent venue and pretty much end the "drag everyone into ED Texas" thing we have going on right now. 
It's like they're trying to be as obviously illiterate as they possibly can.
For a "software security company" they sure are begging for their website to be hacked.
Or maybe it is a honeypot?
What the hell? Could this be the lawyer the video talks about?
> Bradley C. Davis, Brad serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Uniloc USA
For a business to claim it's "based in" East Texas it'll have to pay its taxes there. Local litigation law firms are bringing tons of money into the area, further increasing local revenue. Shutting it down would probably even knock a significant slice off of the state's income.
Edit: And IBM apparently got one granted: http://www.google.com/patents/US8386350
No, if you sell your product or service in the US (or at least East Texas). It doesn't matter where your company is incorporated, it only matters where you do business.
I imagine if in future somebody gets such a patent lawsuit, they'd just rip up the letter and throw it away. Police comes to carry out court orders because they decided in absence? "Sorry officer, the reason you're here is just patent bullshit." - "Oh well, I won't lift a finger for these idiots. Sorry for bothering you, have a nice day!"
Or a more extreme reaction: already in this thread, a couple of people are fantasizing about violence, hiring a hitman and so on. I realize it is mostly meant jokingly, but self-justice is another effect of a justice system that's lost legitimacy.
Rule-of-law is a great thing to have, but it only works if these laws are somewhat reasonable and in accord with peoples moral values...
If that's not a racket, I don't know what is.
Then again I'll just leave this here.