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rslade
Influencer II

Fighting patent trolls

Even though I'm an author, I'm not really big on "intellectual property." Not that I'm against the idea of a creator benefitting from control over what they've created: I just don't see it working out very well in the real world. As is usual, the Golden Rule is that "thems that has the gold makes the rules," and intellectual property law tends not to protect creators as much as it makes it possible for large corporations, with hordes of lawyers, to pay a pittance to originators and then make fabulous profits off the creation.

 

But what really gets my goat is patent trolls. People or companies that file for hugely overbroad patents, generally on things they never plan to produce, and then sue people who actually produce usable products that stray into the patent's clutches. I have wasted far too much time over the past decade and more, helping defend companies that have been hit by patent trolls.

 

Much of the time, the situation goes like this. ABC Corp makes a product. XYZ Corp, the patent troll, figures that it infringes on their patent. XYZ sues ABC for a hundred million dollars. ABC goes to their lawyers. Their lawyers go to IP lawyers. The IP lawyers get someone to do prior art searches. At this point they find me. (This is mostly in the field of antimalware stuff, and I reviewed basically everything that was available between 1987 and 1996.) So, the IP lawyers tell me about the XYZ patent, and I list off all the programs that invalidate the XYZ patent because they did what the XYZ patent talks about before it was filed. So the IP lawyers go back to the ABC lawyers, and ABC says to XYZ, "Well, we could invalidate your patent, but it would be a long and expensive process: here's a hundred thousand dollars. Go away." So, XYZ, who only wanted $100,000, is happy, ABC is happy that they saved $100,000,000, the IP lawyers are happy they got to charge lots of billable hours, and the only one not happy is me.

 

So I am delighted that Cloudflare has taken umbrage at being sued by a patent troll, and encourage everyone to support their prior art search.


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3 Replies
Steve-Wilme
Advocate I

Re: Fighting patent trolls

US patent office has a lot to answer for in granting some patents.  They've even allowed the semicolon symbol to be patented!   Or least my parent received a claim about the use of it.

 

 

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Steve Wilme CISSP-ISSAP, ISSMP MCIIS
CISOScott
Community Champion

Re: Fighting patent trolls

I can remember growing up and being in a music band. Another guy from a different band was talking about the poor man's patent. He said to write down your song lyrics and then mail it to yourself but never open the letter when you receive it. Since it had a postmarked date on it when it was received by the post office you could "prove" that you had written those lyrics before anyone else so if you ever got sued or someone "took" your songs, you could win in court.

 

I didn't think it would stand up in a court of law though..........

rslade
Influencer II

Re: Fighting patent trolls

> CISOScott (Community Champion) posted a new reply in Industry News on 04-29-2021

> He said to write down
> your song lyrics and then mail it to yourself but never open the letter when you
> receive it. Since it had a postmarked date on it when it was received by the
> post office you could "prove" that you had written those lyrics before anyone
> else so if you ever got sued or someone "took" your songs, you could win in
> court.

Well, that's actually more applicable to *copyright*, but, yeah, I heard that, too ...

(And it still means you have to hire lawyers and stuff, so "poor man" it ain't ...)

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