Tag Archives: patent trolls

Top-10 tips for fighting patent trolls.

Increasingly of late – particularly since our recent much publicized triumph in court against a patent troll – I keep getting asked for advice on how to combat patent parasites. So… here they are: our top-10 tips for fighting back against and conquering patent bloodsuckers.

First, your applause please for the KL guys behind the tips (and our fight against patent trolls):

  • Nadya Kashchenko, Chief IP Counsel
  • Dmitry Polyakov, Head of IP Protection & Defense
  • Nikolay Borovikov, Head of IP Research & Analysis
  • Sergey Vasilyev, Senior IP Counsel

From our various battles over the years with patent piranhas in different countries, we’ve come to a number of conclusions about patent trollism. Of course, every country has its own particular economic and socio-political features, plus its own unique patent legislation, but still, on the whole the pattern pretty much stays the same when it comes to trollism – with just a few minor differences. For both clarity and practicality here I’ll concentrate on specifically the US patent environment, since trollism there is currently the most out of control and problematic for innovative companies.

10 tips for fighting against patent trolls

Read on: rule #1 – don’t panic!…

Inventors and inventions.

As recent events have confirmed – we have an active patent life.

Our inboxes keep getting filled with all sorts of e-mails – both positive and negative, interesting and insipid – about various patent claims and assorted inventions…

…Which got me thinking…

…Which led to my doing some research of some of the weird and wonderful – and totally wrong – predictions of ‘experts’ with regard to various new ideas, inventions and undertakings over the centuries.

Here’s an interesting list of 20 extremely bizarre absurdities which I found on the web; I’m sure it will at least raise an eyebrow or two, maybe compel a chuckle or three, or hopefully induce four LOLs:

1. “The fall of stones from the heavens is physically impossible.” – Paris Academy of Sciences on meteorites, 1772.

2. “In the future computers will weigh more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, 1949.

3. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, CEO, IBM, 1943.

4. “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” – Editor, Business Books, Prentice Hall, 1957.

5. “But what…is it good for?” – Engineer, Advanced Computing Systems Division, IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

6. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, Chairman, Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

7. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

8. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – Associates of David Sarnoff who was seeking investment in the radio in the 1920s.

9. “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” – Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing a reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

10. “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

11. “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. suits rejecting the Beatles, 1962. (I LOLed to this one.)

12. “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

13. “That Professor Goddard with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react – to say that would be absurd. Of course, he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” – 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work. The remark was finally retracted in the July 17, 1969 issue.

14. “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” – Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

15. “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1911.

16. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

17. “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

18. “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” – Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.

19. “640 kb ought to be enough for anybody.” – Attributed to Bill Gates, 1981.

20. “$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft.” – IBM, 1982.

As is becoming a habit already, I’ll finish with another brainteasing conundrum:

A rope is stretched snugly around the Equator. It gets cut at one point and an extra one-meter section is inserted to its length. If this rope could magically float on air so that it is fully stretched out (as before), how far above the earth would it be floating?

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Breathe the pressure!

Prevention is better than cure. And that goes for fighting patent trolls too.

With this old adage in mind we recently filed a lawsuit against Device Security LLC seeking invalidation and non-infringement of the patent covering the tech involved in protecting data on mobile devices. This marks a distinct change of tactics on our behalf: Though we’ve been warring with patent parasites for eight years already, this is the first time we’ve gone for a preventative attack.

Kaspersky Lab vs Device Security LLC

Read on: So why have we done this, and why?…

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“To live is to war with trolls”*

The euphoria after our recent single-handed victory over a patent troll has died down – a little. It was real nice to read lots of different accounts of the good news (like this, this, this, this and this) and multiple encouraging  comments from users. However, the real struggle has only just begun – ahead lies a lot of hard work and hassle, albeit interesting hassle. So now’s probably a good time to sum up everything.

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Read on: The first and main thing – never let your guard down…

The patent trolls can be defeated – just never give up!

Hurray! Drum roll… cymbal crash + orchestral hit! We’ve beaten yet another US patent troll! The enemy is defeated, demoralized, and on the run! Churchill was right: “Never give up!” We’ve followed his advice in our fight against a particular troll. As a result the troll gave up and ran away with nothing and its tail between its legs.

“Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline – all in one”

– That’s how N.K. (our Chief Intellectual Property Counsel) described this victory. For this time the troll was of a higher caliber and its ‘connections’ were way more heavyweight.

lodsys

Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline all in one – I couldn’t agree more. Our 18-month court case with Lodsys (one of the ‘tentacles’ of the world’s largest and most notorious of patent trolls – Intellectual Ventures (“IV”)) was brought to a sudden halt by a full and unconditional capitulation by this abominable patent parasite. As per the norm, we won once again alone, with another 54 defendant companies deciding to settle with the extortionist, while others shamefully fled the battlefield altogether. In all the patent troll has shaken down more than 400 IT companies!

Now for the details…

More: Once upon a time there was an inventor, who invented feedback…

Revenge can be sweet, especially against patent trolls.

Payback can be slow – painfully slow – in coming, but thankfully, at last, it does seem to be showing signs of finally arriving and hitting some most unsavory types – patent trolls – squarely in the nether regions.

I’ve already waxed lyrical here about trolls and what needs to be done to up the fight in tackling this scourge.

Here, let me give you a quick review of what needs to be done:

  • Patent use to be limited – a ban on claims for a term preceding their acquisition;
  • Mandatory compensation of a defendant’s expenses if a lawsuit against it is either defeated in court or withdrawn;
  • A ban on patent aggregators bringing lawsuits;
  • An increase in the required detail and accuracy of patent descriptions, and mandatory technical expert examinations;
  • The main thing: not for ideas to be patented, but their concrete practical application.

Sometimes it seems like US legislators read my blog! Finally, something is getting done – and not just anywhere, but in the state of Vermont, where the first anti-troll law has come into effect!

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this law, but what I like most in it is that now a defendant company can demand from a patent troll reimbursement of all its legal costs if it manages to prove that the troll acted not in good faith.

More: Special thanks for the law go to … a patent troll!

Patents against innovation – cont’d.

“Patents against innovation”. Sounds as paradoxical as “bees against honey”, “hamburger patties against buns”, “students against sex” or “rock ‘n’ roll against drugs”.

Patents against innovation? How can that be possible? Patents exist to protect inventors’ rights, to provide a return on R&D investment, and generally to stimulate technological progress. Well, maybe it’s like that for some things, but in today’s software world – no way.

Today’s patent law regarding software is…well, it’s a bit like one of those circus mirrors where reality is distorted. Patent law is now just so far removed from common sense that it’s patently absurd; the whole system right down to its roots needs to be overhauled. ASAP! Otherwise innovative patents meant to encourage and protect will simply fail to materialize. (Good job, patent system. Stellar work.)

So how did everything end up so messed up?

Well, despite the virtuous original intention of patents to protect inventors – today they’ve mainly turned into nothing more than an extortion tool, whose objective is just the opposite of protecting innovation. The contemporary patent business is a technological racket – a cross-breed between… a thieving magpie and a kleptomaniac monkey – with a malicious instinct to drag anything of value back to its lair.

Growth in the number of patent lawsuits with the participation of trolls

trollcase

 Source: PatentFreedom

Now for some detail. Let’s have a closer look at the patent business.

More: aggregators, trolls and pools …

Obama: patents patently barmy.

A serious issue I’ve been critically writing and talking about for several years now has finally made its way up through the echelons of power to find itself being officially recognized – and condemned – by no less than the President of the USA! Indeed, the day before President’s Day Barack Obama issued a strong rebuke against patent trolls! When asked to comment on the current situation as regards the protection of intellectual property and abuses of patents, he came out with the following gem:

“The folks that you’re talking about [patent trolls] are a classic example; they don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Ye gods. At last some sense from the top! He went on to say that patent trolls (not the term he used!) represent one of the main things very wrong with the current American patent system. Then he commented on his administration’s attempts at patent reform:

“I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go, and what we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.”

You can read a bit more on Obama’s comments here, or check this video out – from the 16th minute:


More: How to stop feeding these parasites?…

Don’t Feed the Troll!

Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please!

Good news! After 3.5 years of legal battles with patent trolls we have finally won a resounding victory! This was our first patent litigation battle in the US and we won! // Well, we needed to make up somehow for Russia’s poor display at Euro 2012 :)

Here’s a recap.

Four years ago the patent trolls suddenly came on the scene trying to prove that we were using technology that had been patented by somebody else.

Because we were expecting this sort of thing, and knew all about patent trolls – albeit in theory – our very own patent department had for a number of years been quietly working away preparing our patent firepower in readiness for a showdown with all types of various patent trolls and black hats.

And then this story began, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. By the look of things, the situation was only going to get worse for us, but we had absolutely no intention of just giving in. Even if we lost, we were going to go down fighting and make it as brutal and bloody as possible for them.

And just a few days ago came the final denouncement.

The Court for the Eastern District of Texas announced its verdict in the case brought by IPAT and completely dismissed all the charges against us. What’s more, it did so WITH PREJUDICE, i.e. IPAT can’t bring any more claims regarding those patents!

Court Filing

But this is not just some ordinary legal victory.

More: An insight into troll business, US patent system and search for a solution…