Comments on: Why patent trolls don’t need valid patents A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: GRRR Mon, 05 Mar 2012 18:17:05 +0000 @DaDaDan – IDK — did US provide political backdoor pressure for WIPO to adopt these new ideas, then bringing public pressure for the US to align federal law to match?

For instance, if you examine the history of ACTA, the international negotiations first begun under prodding by former President George Bush, which led to COICA, then PIPA/SOPA, and the Leahy-Smith Act.

By: patentguy Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:40:25 +0000 “District Court, where judge James Spencer made it very clear that his job was to rule only on whether RIM was violating NTP’s patents, and not on whether NTP’s patents were properly granted.”
This is merely the opinion one judge. There is no rule requiring judges to take such a position. The judge has every right to rule that a patent is invalid/improperly granted. Additionally, the judge can issue a stay, or pause, of the proceedings if there is an on-going reexamination at the patent office.

Finally, its important to appreciate that patent litigation is a public affair and that patent trolls typically sue defendants in batches. This gives notice to other similarly situated potential defendants to find prior art and initiate a reexamination proceeding.

By: DaDaDan Mon, 05 Mar 2012 15:53:50 +0000 Felix – While issued patents are presumed to be valid, District Courts are empowered to review patents de novo. If RIM had been able to so easily show prior art, they would have been fine.

GRRR – First to file is the world-wide standard. I agree with you, but it was probably only a matter of time before we switched given all the treaties we’ve signed saying we would.

By: GRRR Mon, 05 Mar 2012 04:36:43 +0000 And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, and the idiotic “first to file” rule. USPTO is broken, and Congress is corrupted.

By: robertwaldmann Sun, 04 Mar 2012 23:16:48 +0000 I don’t know what I am typing about, but I think there is something which judges can constitutionally do if asked to enforce patents which they think were improperly granted — take money from the defendant rather than shut them down. The story goes
1) judge must find for NTP
2) awards megabucks compensatory plus punitive damages and additionally
Kilobucks per hour that the blackberry network stays up after the judgment.
3) RIM appeals and asks for a stay
4) Judge must say no way, but does put damages in escrow as appeal heard
5) NTP can’t demand a quick hearing of appeals as money is piling up in escrow.
6) patents revoked
7) new appeal on grounds patents revoked
8) NTP ends up with doodly squat

The problem, it seems to me in my ignorance, was that the judge was prepared to do irreversible damage to RIM. I am assuming that some smart investor would be willing to loan to RIM at a not gigantic rate of interest based on the assumption that the patents would be revoked in the end.

A judge sure can help patent trolls out in spite of prior art, but I don’t think judges have no alternative. I think the case shows something particular about RIM bone headedness or maybe about the judge, but doesn’t show that trolls can’t be fought by finding prior art.

By: rootless_e Sun, 04 Mar 2012 23:05:42 +0000 So Felix: NTP asked RMI to license patents that were issued to it; RMI could identify no actual prior art; RMI went to court and lied to the judge and jury and were caught; RMI lost the court case on the merits. They then started to prevail in a second venue – the Patent Office appeal (and there it seems like they may have improperly influence the PTO) and the courts, properly refused to allow them to get a do-over. Consider an inventor suing a large corporation under your scheme. First the inventor has to commit to the enormous expense and time of a trial; win the trial; get a judgement and then the infringer is allowed to try it all again in the PTO. That’s an invitation for big companies to appropriate other peoples work – something that they do not need much of an invitation to do.

In any case your original point is not correct. If RMI had gone into court with solid prior art, they would have most likely prevailed – because they _are_ allowed to argue patent validity.

By: JayCM Sun, 04 Mar 2012 22:00:07 +0000 I agree with rootless. I’m pretty sure the judge is allowed to rule on the validity of the patents, even if this particular judge didn’t care to. OTOH, I’m just a guy who studied a bit for the patent bar, before deciding the whole thing was just too boring.

By: Fowles Sun, 04 Mar 2012 20:44:51 +0000 There is another reason that you are overlooking entirely. Non-equal participants. I as a hobbyist software developer (or even a start-up) get threatened by a patent troll. They have an entire legal department, I likely have 0-1 lawyers on retainer. Even if their patent is absurd, it will cost me to fight them. In fact, as an individual this cost can be so prohibitive as to force me to settle.

This sort of thing is quite common. It has happened to me personally as a hobbyist. My friends who run small software consultancies live in fear of it.

By: rootless_e Sun, 04 Mar 2012 20:11:54 +0000 “But the U.S. Patent Office is an entirely separate entity from the U.S. District Court, where judge James Spencer made it very clear that his job was to rule only on whether RIM was violating NTP’s patents, and not on whether NTP’s patents were properly granted”

Sorry Felix: RIM did argue that the patents were invalid, were permitted to make the case in court, but the JURY disagreed with them.