Tag: troll

New Egg beats patent troll

trollNew Egg has declared a victory against a patent troll who tried to claim its patent covered SSL and RC4 encryption.

For those who came in late, SSL and RC4 encryption is as common as muck and the troll in question has gone against over 100 other companies, and brought in $45 million in settlements.

TQP Development claimed that Newegg’s use of newer versions of SSL server encryption technology infringed on it patents. What is worse is that it managed to convince an earlier court that this was the case Newegg was ordered to pay $2.3 million.

At the time New Egg vowed to fight that result in the appellate courts. It did and it won.

Normally companies pay up and go away, but New Egg has a policy of fighting. It has beaten trolls in the past. In March it duffed up an outfit called MacroSolve which sued dozens of companies (including small app development shops) over patent No. 7,822,816, which it claims covers using questionnaires on a mobile app.

The company fought and won a lengthy battle over a patent on an electronic “shopping cart,” and it has defeated Alcatel-Lucent and Kelora

Lee Cheng, Newegg CLO said that patent trolls were bad for any business out there. They often prey on smaller companies, who would rather pay out than take them on directly in court. These trolls hurt innovation and end up costing everyone. It’s a sad situation as many of these small businesses end in million-dollar lawsuits that force them to close before they can even make it in today’s economy.

“Unfortunately, small businesses and even individual developers/entrepreneurs have been threatened and sued too.

“There are many different troll “species,” and bottom feeders send thousands of claim letters out or file hundreds of lawsuits. Their maths says that it always costs less to give them the money they demand than to mount a legal defence,” he said.


Googler takes over Patent Office

William_Hemsley_The_young_poacher_1874In a classic poacher turned game keeper scenario, a former Google executive has taken over the US Patent Office.

The US Senate confirmed former Google Inc executive Michelle Lee will head the US Patent and Trademark Office. No one has taken the job for two years ever since David Kappos, a former IBM suit, left in February 2013.

Lee was a lawyer and head of patents and patent strategy at Google, and had been the acting director of the office. The patent office has been slammed for approving what some say are weak software related-patents that have given ground to Patent Trolls.

Lee’s main task will be to improve the quality of patents granted by the agency and send the trolls back to live under their bridges.

Another complaint has been the agency’s long backlog in examining patents. In December 2011, the unexamined backlog was almost 722,000 patents. It currently stands at 602,265, according to the agency’s website.


Apple has to pay troll toll for use of iTunes

trollFruity cargo cult Apple has gone up against the Troll Gods of East Texas and ended up having to pay $532.9 million.

A federal jury found Apple’s iTunes software infringed three patents owned by Texas-based patent licensing company Smartflash. Smartflash wanted $852 million in damages.

The jury deliberated for eight hours and said that Apple not only used the Smartflash patents without permission, but also did so wilfully.

Apple claimed the outcome was another reason why reform is needed in the patent system to curb litigation by companies that do not make products themselves, such as Smartflash.  Although it has done rather well itself by patenting the rounded rectangle, which it did not really invent.

“We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters.

Smartflash sued Apple in May 2013 alleging the Cupertino, California-based company’s iTunes software infringed its patents related to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games.

The trial was held in Tyler, the hub of the East Texas region, which over the past decade has become a focus for patent litigation in the United States. Some of the biggest jury verdicts have been awarded in the district. Smartflash is also based in Tyler.

Apple tried to avoid a trial by having the lawsuit thrown out. But earlier this month U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who presided over the case, ruled that the Smartflash’s technology was not too basic to deserve the patents.

Apple argued that it did not infringe the patents and asked the jury to find they were invalid because previously patented inventions covered the same technology.

Smartflash’s suit said that in 2000, the co-inventor of its patents, Patrick Racz, met with a man named Augustin Farrugia to discuss the patents’ technology. Farrugia, the complaint said, later joined Apple and became a senior director there.

Texas jury awards Bluetooth to patent troll

trollA Texas jury which was told by a patent troll that a plaintiff did not invent Bluetooth 2.0, has told him that he really did.

Gordon Bremer is connected to a patent trolling outfit called Rembrandt which takes on big companies with wide patents before East Texas juries.

East Texas juries are famous for handing down patent rulings in favour of plaintiffs.

Bremer told the court he didn’t invent Bluetooth 2.0. In fact he hadn’t even read the specification for it until it had been in the market for three years.

The jury found in Rembrandt’s favour after a week-long trial, finding that Samsung’s Bluetooth-enabled products, including its most popular mobile phones, tablets, and televisions, infringe Bremer’s patents, numbered 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. The patents relate to compatibility between different types of modems, and connect to a string of applications going back to 1997.

This means that without doing anything Bremer may be being paid a hefty royalty by Samsung, after a jury ruled that the Korean electronics company infringed Bremer’s patents. He stands to get 2.5 percent of the $15.7 million verdict.

The first version of Bluetooth was invented by Swedish cell phone company Ericsson in 1994 and Rembrandt made the same complaint against Blackberry .

Now Rembrandt’s lawyers have made clear they believe the Bremer patents apply to all products using Bluetooth 2.0.

Rembrandt lawyer Demetrios Anaipakos said that “justice had been done” and that  the Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities.

Bremer told Rembrandt higher-ups that his patents, originally applied to work he did on modems back in 1997, could be applied to Bluetooth products.

“I had a kind of ‘aha’ moment. I came up with an (eloquent) solution… I realised if I put an indicator at the beginning of each communication that said change the modulation, this communication could happen instantly.”

Bremer continues to create more patents for Rembrandt. He has more than 100 to his name. It’s a symbiotic relationship—he creates the patents, testifies and gets deposed, while Rembrandt provides the legal muscle

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that it was the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or BSIG, that came up with the 2.0 version, including the Enhanced Data Rate or EDR technology and he made no contributions to the standards body.

Samsung lawyer Jeff Sherwood appeared to face an uphill battle focusing on the non-infringement argument. That was because the defence was heavily technical and the jury preferred that he talked about the wording in the patents.

Bremer had never created a product based on his patents, Sherwood noted. He tried to sell his patents to other parties, but “no one wanted them” until they were bought by Rembrandt.

Samsung hired as its expert a man who was deeply involved in the technology—Steven Hall, now a technical director of Broadcom, who was vice-chair of the Bluetooth SIG “Core Specification Working Group.”

Hall had never heard of Bremer.

It took the jury less than an hour before it returned a verdict that Samsung should pay up.


Samsung sued by Dutch

dutch-childrenDutch based telecommunications company KPN has sued Samsung in the US state of Texas, claiming that it stole  some of its patented ideas.

The European network is suing the world’s largest smartphone company for using patented technology, with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 among the listed devices.

Apparently KPN has been negotiating with Samsung for some years to reach a licensing agreement, but talks broke down.

As the court filing was made in the US, it seems KPN is focused on that market, but it is unclear if Samsung is infringing the same patent in other global regions, or if this was just “stage one” of a wider campaign.

Texas is a little more patent friendly to trolls, which does weaken the Dutch case somewhat. After all, if you really believed in your case you would choose a court where the jurors were a little less likely to automatically agree with you.

It is also not clear which patents Samsung is said to have broken – so far no news source from the US has said.


Copyright troll used robo-harassment

trollCopyright troll Rightscorp is being dragged from under its bridge to face the music in court for harassing victims with illegal harassing robo-calls.

Morgan Pietz, one of the lawyers who wrapped “copyright troll” Prenda Law in judicial red tape is targeting Rightscorp saying the outfit made illegal, harassing robo-calls to his clients, who were accused of illegal downloading. The lawsuit says that Rightscorp broke the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law which limits how automated calling devices can be used.

Under the suit, Pietz claims that Rghtscorp was a “debt collector” but made harassing phone calls and didn’t abide by federal or California debt collection laws. Rightscorp company managers, including CEO Christopher Sabec and COO Robert Steele, and Rightscorp’s clients are all named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Violations of federal debt collection laws can result in damages of $1,000 and include provisions for paying lawyers’ fees in successful cases.  TCPA violations can cost $500 per incident, and that can be tripled if the violations were wilful.

Pietz says he doesn’t know how many violations have occurred. But he says just one of his named plaintiffs was subject to enough illegal phone calls to add up to tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

One victim, Jeanie Reif,  had her mobile phone called every day for a couple of months, Pietz said. And there could be thousands of members of this class.

If a judge agrees with Pietz that the phone calls were harassing and illegal, Rightscorp could be on the hook for many millions of dollars and that could send it under. The company has lost $6.5 million since its inception in 2011.

If it goes under the enforcement company’s marquee music clients, who include BMG Rights Management and Warner Brothers could end up having to pay up.

Internet trolls face two years porridge in Blighty

trollUK justice secretary Chris Grayling has promised to drag internet trolls from under their bridges and lock them up for longer.

Grayling has announced a plan to change maximum prison sentence for online abuse from six months to two years

Grayling spoke of a “baying cybermob” and believed that the changes will allow magistrates to pass on the most serious cases to crown courts.

The case appeared to have been inspired by Chloe Madeley, the daughter of television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, who was trolled after she defended her mother’s remarks about the convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Madeley faced rape threats on social media after she defended her mother’s remarks that Evans, who was released from prison last week after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, should be allowed to resume his career as a footballer because his rape had not been violent and he had not caused “any bodily harm.”

Grayling told the Mail on Sunday: “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the six-month sentence.

“People are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion. This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years,” he said.

Chloe Madeley told the Wail on Sunday that the law needs to be reviewed. It needs to be accepted that physical threats should not fall under the ‘freedom of speech’ umbrella. It should be seen as online terrorism and it should be illegal.




Google avoids Texas patent troll fight

alamo-paintingGoogle has managed to avoid having to fight patent troll Rockstar Consortium in a Texas court that lawyers consider nicer toward plaintiffs

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday ordered proceedings stayed in Texas over whether handsets made by Samsung Electronics, HTC,  AsuSTEK,  LG Electronics and ZTE infringed on Rockstar’s patents because they used Google’s Android.

Rockstar had filed the lawsuits in a Texas federal court and Google filed a lawsuit in northern California in which it asked a judge to rule that devices using the Android platform had not infringed the patents cited by Rockstar.

The overlaps led the appeals court to rule that the spat should be decided first in California.

The court said that there was no need to proceed with the five Texas actions because the one California action would do. “There will be substantial similarity involving the infringement and invalidity issues in all the cases”, whatever that means.

Rockstar which as Apple as an investor, outbid Google and paid $4.5 billion for thousands of former Nortel Network patents as the networking products supplier went bankrupt in 2011.

Sexist trolls force feminist gamer out of her house

Ricostruzione_homo_neanderthal (1)Desperate to prove that there is no such thing as sexism in the gaming community a bunch of misogynistic socially retarded trolls have managed to scare a feminist gaming campaigner out of her house with death threats.

Earlier this week, Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest in a series of crowdfunded videos called Tropes vs. Women. The videos analyse games which portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters.

Sounds harmless enough but some male gamers clearly felt deeply threatened and launched an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian.

This included a flood of violent comments and emails, videos documenting ways in which she is not a “real gamer.” Someone wrote a game where you can punch her in the face, and a proposed documentary devoted to exposing the “lies” and “campaign of misinformation” from what is, again, a collection of opinions about video games.

Now it seems that they have got so carried away with themselves they now think it is ok to kill Sarkeesian as a warning to other women who dare to stand up to men.  How very Saudi Arabian of them.

Sarkeesian spent the night with friends after contacting law enforcement about “some very scary threats” against her and her family. She’s published a page of extremely violent sexual threats from the person who apparently drove her to call the police; in it, the user mentions the location of her apartment and threatens to kill her parents, who the user names and claims to be able to find.

Apparently most of the vitriol is coming because Sarkeesian is actually succeeding and  is getting high profile support from popular developers and media figures. Joss Whedon and William Gibson, among others, mentioned it, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine urged everyone in game development to watch it “from start to finish.”

Having read some of the death threats and posts, you cannot help but wonder how these gamers are missed a court-imposed therapy for views about women with make Leviticus look like a pro-feminist tract. It is so retarded and so out of control that it contaminates the gaming community and gives them an excuse to attack women.

Fortunately, for the sake of humanity the trolls have not heard of the Streisand effect and not twigged that their over the top attacks on Sarkeesian have propelled Tropes vs. Women to a level of visibility it would not otherwise had had.

It is also weakening their argument that “misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other “social justice warriors” when you actively give it such an overt demonstration.

Scanner troll kicked

kung-fuMPHJ Technology which sent out thousands of letters demanding $1,000 per worker from small businesses using basic scan-to-e-mail functions, has just received a kicking from a court.

The outfit claims to own several patents that cover those basic functions and has sent out more than 10,000 letters demanding payment.

It was the first patent troll ever to be sued by the government in which Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell accused MPHJ of making misleading statements in its demand letters.

The troll did not really bother to check that the targeted businesses were actually infringing its patents and sent letters to two Vermont nonprofits that help disabled residents and their caregivers.

MPHJ has not given up and is demanding that its case be heard in federal court and even suggesting that the Vermont attorney general should be punished for daring to stand up to it.

However a federal judge kicked the case back into state court and rejected MPHJ’s invitation to punish the state.

MPHJ appealed all the way to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, insisting that its case was closely related to the validity of its patents and that Vermont should be forced into federal court, where all patent cases are heard.

However, now that final appeal didn’t work and a panel of Federal Circuit judges rejected MPHJ, saying it didn’t have jurisdiction to overturn the federal judge’s decision.

The Vermont case is one of three fronts where MPHJ is battling the government. In Nebraska, a judge agreed that its patent demand letters were constitutionally protected free speech which is a bizarre defence. That state’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, has appealed the decision. MPHJ also tried to sue the FTC, which the watchdog is fighting.

It is not clear if MPHJ will win or lose its case in Vermont. The outfit’s hand was strengthened when the drugs companies convinced the US senate not to bring in an anti-patent-troll reform bill. If it does win then it can hassle every small business in the US which happens to have a scanner.