Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Another subtopic: What's CI's potential return on investment in this round of lawsuits? What is the cost of filing a patent? What is the cost of bringing a patent lawsuit? What percentage of small companies settle? And for how much?

I look at a company like Remember The Milk and wonder how much they could possibly afford to pay. A quick back of the envelope calculation based on compete.com, 170k visitors/month. Let's say that 80k are customers and 8k are paying customers ($25/year), and that their yearly revenue is $200k. They have three or four full time people and increasing traffic.

I guess a company like that could afford to pay $10-20k/annual for a license. That might even be considered a good business decision given that with their current revenue they probably don't have a lot of money in the bank to fight a legal battle now, but that with their growth they have future profits that should make this a minor annoyance.

A patent is much more valuable if it's upheld in court. I thought that was the idea behind patent trolling: get a bullshit patent, go after a bunch of little guys, try some kind of divide and conquer strategy with them, hope you win and get your bullshit patent upheld. Your patent is now much stronger and more dangerous. Congratulations, you're a litigious douchebag.

I just hope to high heaven that we see more responses like the following:


His response makes me want to get a law degree.

Amazing! They are messing with the wrong guy.

So these lawsuits are still part of the investment in douchebaggery and the return comes later. Interesting.

One possibility, and this is just speculation, and I am not a lawyer, is that CI is targeting a number of small players in the hope that we will settle or lose, thereby providing some precedent that their patent has succeeded in litigation. They could then point at our pile of bodies when threatening companies that actually have money.

Exactly. A key issue in trials is what facts can be re-litigated at later trials.

If you and/or the other defendants don't litigate the validity of the patent well and lose that issue, future parties are barred from re-litigating that issue.

A strategy of a small guy is to try and bring in a large guy to litigate an issue that will be very important to them in the future (i.e. eBay, Amazon, or whoever else may be infringing the patent).

I'd say that sounds like accurate speculation, but IANAL.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact