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back to article Rackspace sues 'the most notorious patent troll in America'

Texan hosting firm Rackspace is going on the offensive with a legal challenge to non-producing entity (or patent troll, as they are more commonly known) Parallel Iron – a firm Rackspace describes as "the most notorious patent troll in America." Rackspace is still feeling cocky after its victory last week in the Eastern District …

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Silver badge

A Very Good Thing Indeed.

"At present, trolls are sending out patent infringement claims to companies that own a fax machine or Wi-Fi network, and many pay up rather than going to court over the issue."

Not mentioned in the article is that any, many lawsuits are threatened, not only by patent trolls but all sorts of other attorneys as well, in many areas (i.e. product liability, all sorts of discrimination, libel and defamation, etc etc), based on the idea that the prospective defendant will prefer to settle as opposed to fight because it will be cheaper to settle than mount a defense. So this situation in is not really unique to the tech industry being threatened by patent trolls.

If they were to find a workable solution to this problem that could be implemented on a wider basis and which would benefit other industries in addition to the tech industry, it would be a very good thing indeed.

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Coat

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Didn't the Bard of Avalon already propose a solution?:

"'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers'. "

A bit drastic, but in the Ol' US of A, there's already so many of them, they're starting to trample each other chasing ambulances!

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Coat

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

It's pointing to the lawyers. However, while pointing your finger to the lawyers, you first have to turn it from the laws that let these trolls exist.

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Silver badge

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

I think that's the Bard of Avon, the Bard of Avalon would be Bryan Ferry

....although he might also believe in killing all the lawyers - most people in the music industry do.

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Silver badge

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

"although he might also believe in killing all the lawyers - most people in the music industry do."

What is this based on? The music industry lives by law, case law, and lawyers - and inevitably so, considering how much of their business is based an any number of legal rights, ownership transfers, contracts, stipulations, legislation and case law based on it, etc etc.

Now, if you wanted to say "most people in the music industry believe in killing the opposing side's lawyers" well then you'd have the beginnings of a supportable, defensible statement.

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

"A bit drastic, but in the Ol' US of A, there's already so many of them, they're starting to trample each other chasing ambulances!"

Nope, they are bloody well driving them now!!

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Meh

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Oh I dunno. Being a musician, I'd have no problem with it being legal to peel lawyers and dip them in salt, for starters.

"Rights holders" in all their multitudinous parasitic manifestations may live by law. Artists, by and large, live by one-or-other form of patronage as usual.

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

> So this situation in is not really unique to the tech industry

True. Government uses it too.

"We have this photo of your car breaking the speed limit. Pay up. You may choose to contest this, but if you don't pay up within two weeks your fine will be doubled, and if you contest and lose you'll have to pay costs as well".

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

although he might also believe in killing all the lawyers - most people in the music industry do

Please don't confuse "music industry" with musicians. The latter are every much ripped off by the former as any receiver of a patent troll's 'letter'.

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@Captain DaFt: Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

It was said by Jack Cade's follower Dick The Butcher in Shakespeare's Henry VI; it was in the midst of a harangue in which Cade lays out his, errr... social-political program.

Consider this quote: "'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers' You know the line, from Shakespeare's 'Henry VI, Part 2.' Like a mantra, it is mindlessly quoted by pundits, stenciled on T-shirts and generally marshaled as condemnation of the legal profession from the very pen of the Bard of Avon. Not only is this a gross calumny, it is a symptom of gross cultural illiteracy.[...] Dick the Butcher shouts enthusiastically, 'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.' There it is - the phrase so frequently used to damn the legal profession, shouted by a butcher in response to an ex-convict and confidence man who was in London to foment anarchy, burn the city and loot the commonwealth. But that's not all. Cade shows us what his world would be like without lawyers. Immediately after Dick the Butcher mouths his famous line, a clerk enters. Someone accuses the clerk of being able to write and read. Cade orders, 'Hang him with his pen and inkhorn about his neck.' Yes, second thing let's do, let's kill anyone who can write or read." (http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-14/local/me-1614_1_jack-cade.)

I don't know if this was an idea ever espoused by the real Jack Cade and Shakespeare account of Cade and the events surrounding him seems to be quite ahistorical.

The quote has also been attributed to Leo Trotsky, who might have been well-enough read to know it from a tranlation of Shakespeare. I do not know if Trotsky ever said it or not, but it would have been both appropriate and ironic if he had.

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Watch out Apple

...the other Patent Troll.

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

All very true.

However, if I have a legitimate complaint for any of those reasons, the proper approach is for me to have my lawyers approach you about a non-judicial resolution to the problem. I think where the wheels keep exploding off the bus is that too many of our judges don't seem to engage that root of their title: using good judgement to differentiate legitimate complaints from trolls, then properly castigating the trolls.

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Re: Nope, they are bloody well driving them now!!

Not driving, because if you are driving you might wind up being liable for something. They've got shotgun instead.

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

"Most people" in the music industry are musicians - they get screwed by the PRS / RIAA more than downloaders

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Mushroom

Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Looks at ariel photo and thinks "...nuke the entire site from orbit. It's The Only Way To Be Sure."

'nuff said...

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Thumb Down

Re: Watch out Apple

Apple are hardly an NPE, thus not a troll by all but the most bilious definition.

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Re: A Very Good Thing Indeed.

I hate to be pedantic (oh alright then) but strictly speaking you are offered a reduction of the fine, usually 50%,if you pay up within 2 weeks. Also if you contest it within the first 14 days everything is put on hold until it's been reviewed. If its upheld you then still get 14 days to pay 50%. This can take a while... *cough*

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Bronze badge

Re: if you don't pay up within two weeks your fine will be doubled,

In one Florida county, the clerks' office has notified the local municipalities that they should stop issuing red light camera tickets because of an inequity in the way state law is written. ( http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/pinellas-clerk-of-court-asks-cities-to-stop-using-red-light-cameras/1276514 )

It seems that the world has transitioned from an economy where items of value are produced, to one of a "got you by the balls" mentality as a business model. Patent trolls are a prime example.

I feel that the first step in stopping trolls is to institute (at least in the US) a losing plaintiff pays policy. Currently, Rackspace had to spend plenty of $$$ to defend itself from Uniloc's accusations, and Uniloc LOST. Other than its attorney's fees (which may have been on contingency), Uniloc essentially gambled on Rackspace's folding. There was little downside for Uniloc.

NOW, would Uniloc have been so assertive in its """claims""" 1 if it would have been on the hook for Rackspace's legal costs in the event Rackspace won????? Now, that is a good question, isn't it??? It is unfortunate that Rackspace can not get a judgment against Uniloc for its legal fees, and bankrupt those dammed assholes!!!!

AFAIAC it should be global thermonuclear war on patent trolls, with no mercy shown to losing trolls.

.

1 When I put a word or phrase in triple quotes, it is my way of expressing facetious surprise at whatever is triple quoted.

example

Uniloc's """claims"""

<sarcasm> yeah right!!!!! </sarcasm>

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Bronze badge

Re: Please don't confuse "music industry" with musicians.

I, for one, do not!!!

I am well aware that the music industry, like Hollywood will never let any opportunity to ram it up the ass of a musician or actor pass by, if it presents itself.

The music industry took a page out of Hollywood's Creative Accounting playbook, and figured out so many ways past Sunday to cheat musicians and artists. It is one reason why I have no sympathy for member companies of the MAFIAA (Music And Film Industy Associations of America). Fuck them!

Unless you are a "household name" artist, whose popularity allows you the ability to dictate your own terms; you are fucked. The record companies will make damn sure that any potential royalties you might be entitled to are consumed by bogus nickel and dime expenses. You may have to have an army of CPAs to keep the labels honest. When you sign with a label, you have given them first dibs at your first born, your left nut and your spouse (or girl/boyfriend), and essentially, you are a slave (to the record company) with little hope of gaining your freedom. So, pirates out there, if you really want to stick it to those bastards, then support those artists that release their music directly to the public, fuck the labels. Supporting an artist directly takes the labels out of the revenue stream, and those greedy motherfuckers don't want their gravy train hijacked.

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

"Unfair to NPE"

So trolls would have to pay a kind of "hunting tax" before they can start threatening end users and companies that actually use their patents don't.

Well boo f**king hoo for NPE's.

Still at least this lot were prepared to name their client without pleading the 5th.

Thumbs up to Rackspace. Trolls are not like "real" companies. Being sensible and trying to settle grievances does not work with them. They need to be smacked and smacked hard.

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Flame

Troll fight

I'm waiting for the day a patent troll sues another patent troll for trolling a third party using a patent that the primary troll alledges prior art on (and thus should be trolling the tertiary party instead). Or somesuch. Lets hope they all kill themselves anyway. And software patents die with them.

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"Do the DOJ and FTC consider whether soft drink manufacturers are a good thing? Video game manufacturers? Dairy farms? Tobacco companies? In the American system, consumers determine which businesses are worthwhile – by voting with their dollars."

All of whom actually manufacture something. Not forgetting, of course, that you also have the option to 'vote' with your cash. If someone threatens a lawsuit, you have three options:

- Spend cash on a settlement

- Spend cash on a defence

- Tell them to take a hike

Given that the third, verbal option tends to route directly to the second, there's no option to 'vote with your dollars'.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Trolls are going to kill American industry

The big billy goat does indeed need to be unleashed on these chancers, but he'll certainly have his work cut out.

Hypothetical case - let's suppose I've got a good idea for a new technology product. A secure version of Facebook, a new Jesus phone that allows teleportation, an infallible method of tracing spammers and nuking them from orbit, whatever. So off I go and develop a working prototype.

Next, I need to sell it. I look at the global market - a substantial fraction of 7 billion people - and I have to decide where I'm going to set up shop.

So... do I pick a country of about 400 million people that has money to spend but comes with the risk of patent trolls chancing their arms and costing me money? Or do I move to somewhere that frowns on that sort of crap, decide not to sell to the country with the stupid patent laws and accept that I'll be cutting out 17% of the global market?

I can have my stuff made in China, Taiwan, India, wherever. Even if I did live in that country with the stupid patent laws, what's stopping me from upping sticks and moving elsewhere?

83% of 7 billion people is an awful lot of potential sales. Why accept the hassle of being based in the USA and having to put up with these wastes of space?

Admittedly, that does open me up to the risk of being ripped off by a US company. But unless it's a product with a massively high margin, that might be a risk worth taking.

The US government needs to wake up to the fact that it is no longer the technological centre of the universe. Unless this sort of thing is stopped, there's a good chance that America will slip quickly down the world rankings, as it'll just be too much hassle to do business there.

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Bronze badge

Re: Trolls are going to kill American industry

"Admittedly, that does open me up to the risk of being ripped off by a US company."

you might file a patent in the US just for protection in such a case, but otherwise do not produce nor sell your stuff in the US. Which would make you an NPE in this market, so what.

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Anonymous Coward

Trolls claiming an infringement but not saying what it is?

A rum do. Can you imagine a conversation

A guy comes up to you and says "I know you've been doing something naughty"

You say "doing what, how do you know?"

"I got a photo"

"So let me see it"

"Won't show you unless you agree not to sue me"

"OK, I won't sue you. Where's the picture"

"Here" hands over photo.

"Hey this isn't illegal in any state. But taking a picture of me doing it IS illegal. I ought to sue you."

"You said you wouldn't".....

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Silver badge

At least IP Nav understands the American system

"In the American system, consumers determine which businesses are worthwhile – by voting with their dollars."

Yes, thanks so high degrees of lobbying and marketing businesses can control where the dollars are going, just like IP Nav does by suing those companies. :)

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IDEALLY a Patents should lapse if it goes out of production..

A Patent originally existed to protect the revenue stream of the inventor / licensee / manufacturer.

****

IDEALLY it should lapse if it goes out of production, unless the company can prove that they have used OR genuinely plan to use it in future products.

***

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Bronze badge

Re: IDEALLY a Patents should lapse if it goes out of production..

Gosh, if only someone else had ever thought of this! How surprising it has never come up in the comments to any one of the sixty-seven thousand[1] articles on patents that have run in the Reg over the past decade or so.

Has anyone ever considered that it might be blindingly stupid?[2]

[1] Approximately.

[2] Yes. And yes. And so on.

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Re: IDEALLY a Patents should lapse if it goes out of production..

You know you could have just used a single link for [2] since they're all replies to the exact same comment.

Also thanks for linking my comment, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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