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Ten States Pass Anti-Patent-Troll Laws, With More To Come

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the get-under-the-bridge dept.

Government 64

An anonymous reader writes "With patent reform stalled in the Senate, many states have decided to take up the issue themselves. 'As states kicked off their legislative sessions this winter, lawmakers responded to the threats against small businesses by writing bills that would ban "bad faith patent assertions" as a violation of consumer-protection laws. The bills target a specific type of patent troll: the kind that sends out vaguely worded letters demanding licensing fees. The thousands of letters sent out by the "scanner trolls" at MPHJ Technology are often brought up as a case-in-point. The new laws allow trolls that break rules around letter-writing to be sued in state court, either by private companies they've approached for licensing fees, or by state authorities themselves.'"

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64 comments

Trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014681)

I immediately thought this was an anti-bully/webtroll law being referenced by the title.

Re:Trolls? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014701)

> I immediately thought this was an anti-bully/webtroll law being referenced by the title.

That's because you are a mess and a fuck up. It's time for you to find a meeting. Toot sweet, and shit.

Re:Trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014789)

You suck at trolling. ( ^_~ )

Trolls? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015011)

This is the Internet Police. You are under arrest for trolling slashdot. We have hacked your computer and have you IP address and all other information we need to track you and put you in the hole for a long time. Now come to the local police station and turn yourself in and we will give you a much reduced sentence.

Nice sentiment but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014697)

Have they heard of the Commerce Clause?

Re:Nice sentiment but... (2)

erice (13380) | about 2 months ago | (#47014741)

Have they heard of the Commerce Clause?

No need for such contortions. Patents are explicitly defined in the US Cnstitution as a federal matter.

Does patent litigation ever even use the state courts?

Re:Nice sentiment but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014801)

Patents are explicitly defined in the US Cnstitution as a federal matter.

I'm not completely sure on this, but I thought the President/Congress has the power to wipe out Federal Laws. Federal laws are also unconstitutional, IE they shouldn't exist, but I surprises me no one has gone after the federal government with lawsuits, or the Supreme Courts to have federal laws ex-sponged.

You cannot have an overpowering body wiping out state laws with their own laws. The states are suppose to govern themselves without interference.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014849)

The patent law 35 USC is built on the Intellectual Property clause of the Constitution (A1 S8). This means that the grant of power is federal, and questions regarding infringement and validity are reserved for the federal government and administrative bodies. Claims of patent infringement are brought via state district federal courts (usually two districts per state). Appeals go to the Federal circuit, and of course then the SCOTUS.

A state can provide broader rights than the Constitution, but not fewer. This is subject to the Gunwall analysis. The state legislature therefore can expand patent power, but not restrict it as it would be removing a federal right.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014867)

One more note: if they amend consumer protections to allow broader consumer protections, then they might not be altering the patent law at all, but instead granting an additional course of action for the consumer against misused patents. That would be new suit filed by the victim. It wouldn't change the parent patent court case, if I read that right, so it might be ok in that it is a new course of action at the state level.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014979)

Please don't use the term "Intellectual Property" to describe the clause of the Constitution: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Intellectual property is a modern day term meant to confuse the differences between copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Using a modern day corruption of the concepts to describe the initial writings further confuses the relevant issues.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015041)

Anonymous my ass, you're Richard "I eat my own fucking toe cheese in public during lectures. Also I'm a raging faggot." Stallman.

Fuck off.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015475)

You are absolutely WRONG. Patents, copyrights and trademarks were well known at the time of the constitution and only on Slashdot would you get modded insightful for such bullshit. It is called intellectual property because they are property rights, legal and granted property rights. They are referred to in the legal world as intangibles, but you don't care about actual law and the constitution.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (5, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47016049)

Using a modern day corruption of the concepts to describe the initial writings further confuses the relevant issues.

The history of patents does not begin with inventions, but rather with royal grants by Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) for monopoly privileges...[snip]...In an 1818 collection of his writings, the French liberal theorist, Benjamin Constant, argued against the recently introduced idea of "property which has been called intellectual."[7] The term intellectual property can be found used in an October 1845 Massachusetts Circuit Court ruling in the patent case Davoll et al. v. Brown., in which Justice Charles L. Woodbury wrote that "only in this way can we protect intellectual property, the labors of the mind, productions and interests are as much a man's own...as the wheat he cultivates, or the flocks he rears."[8] The statement that "discoveries are...property" goes back earlier. Section 1 of the French law of 1791 stated, "All new discoveries are the property of the author; to assure the inventor the property and temporary enjoyment of his discovery, there shall be delivered to him a patent for five, ten or fifteen years."[9] In Europe, French author A. Nion mentioned propriété intellectuelle in his Droits civils des auteurs, artistes et inventeurs, published in 1846. - WP link [wikipedia.org]

The advent of Hollywood in the 20th century did two things, created wealthy and respectable citizens out of previously "immoral" entertainers, changed the notion of copyright from a temporary monopoly on property into an eternal property right, the computer industry came up with machines that could be anything you told them to be, the conceptual distinction between ideas and iron vanished and they were able to gain the protections afforded by both copyright and patent law.

I want to see IP law radically reformed: Art would be sponsored not sold, research would be sponsored not sold, software would be serviced not sold, scientific discoveries would be treated the same way as a finding an ancient "treasure trove", depending on it's value to society you either get to keep it in your head or the state publishes it and hand you a token cash reward commensurate with it's perceived value to society.

That's simply not going to happen in my life time, nor would I want it to happen "overnight" since such a rapid switch in basic property law would probably throw the global economy into black hole. It's taken at least 100yrs for the social pendulum to overshoot "reasonable" in the author's/inventor's favour. If you want to help push it back the other way, publishing conspiracy theories on Slashdot is not the way to do it. Getting your facts straight would be a start but "being right" may not help, politics is all about "being listened to" and nothing makes a politicians ears prick up more than the sound of a pen scratching against a cheque book.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47016143)

Yay! This is what I've been saying for years! It's great to have someone agree with me. You've laid it out in a much more eloquent way than I ever had.

I'm a musician and an inventor. Everything I create I give away for free. I do the standard: Make a video of how to do it and post it. Thing. When I write a song I upload all the individual tracks so other people can, for example, take out the guitar and jam along if it helps them. etc... The art world would be far richer if more people did the same. Just try to go online and find just the drum track for some song so you can practice along with it... it's very rare.

I find it disgusting when I go to conventions or clubs and some dudes made a cool jig or tool, I ask him how he did it and he tells me its a trade secret but he can sell me one. I think the whole handyman community is thankfully turning that way. Imagine if Galileo had kept the telescope a secret...

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47017629)

I'm gonna lose it. I actually agree with TapeCutter ... What next, up is down? Rivers and oceans boiling? Mass hysteria? Dogs and cats living together?

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47019333)

I think "Intellectual Property" is also used to support the idea of increasingly longer copyrights. Thinking of a copyright as "intellectual property" suggests that it should last forever, since property doesn't expire, while thinking of it as an exclusive Right for limited Times doesn't.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 months ago | (#47015483)

A state can provide broader rights than the Constitution, but not fewer. This is subject to the Gunwall analysis. The state legislature therefore can expand patent power, but not restrict it as it would be removing a federal right.

That's an easily solved problem, though. The state doesn't have to weaken the patents. They just have to tax the ill-gotten earnings at a 100% rate.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47017437)

The patent law 35 USC is built on the Intellectual Property clause of the Constitution (A1 S8).

You made me spit milk out of my nose I laughed so hard at your contortions. There is no "Intellectual Property" clause in the Constitution, no matter how much you want to make ephemeral ideas some sort of protected "property".

The only powers the Federal government was granted are all in Article 1 Section 8, which includes the following:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Limited times, DAMMIT!

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

greenbird (859670) | about 2 months ago | (#47023591)

Intellectual Property clause of the Constitution (A1 S8)

"Intellectual Property" is never mentioned or referred to in the US Constitution. Article one Section eight has a line about promoting progress in the useful arts by granting authors and inventors exclusive rights to their writings and discoveries for a limited time. Nothing in there refers to "Intellectual Property". It's about physical items. The current "Intellectual Property" laws are a perversion well beyond the scope of anything authorized by the Constitution created by existing power holders to prevent disruption and to make money without having to do work.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 months ago | (#47016701)

Aren't contracts a state metter though? I think that's essentially what the laws are covering. Seems to be more about the demanding of royalties (which is presumably covered by contract law) than actual patent litigation itself.

Re:Nice sentiment but... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47016105)

Sure, that gives the feds the right to handle the matter between states. That does not prevent the states from regulating behavior where one party is within their own borders.

OK, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014699)

What about all the patent claims without merit but still vaguely within the realm of reality?

Software patents in particular need to die. This is stupid.

We'll take any victory, I suppose (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 2 months ago | (#47014747)

Unless Texas is on that list, I'll give the states an "atta-boy", but it's not as though it will make a serious difference except for smaller business that can't afford regional offices. And let's face it, they're not the serious problem, since it's really only larger firms and patent trolls who go out of their way to set up offices in East Texas that are the problem.

Well, here's hoping that the federal government does the right thing here eventually. I'm typically not one to jump with knee-jerk reactions in favor of government regulation, as over-regulation gone overboard can have a stifling effect on business. Any reasonable analysis demonstrates massive and obvious problems with the current patent system, and the private sector has absolutely demonstrated an inability to handle this problem in a sane solution. In fact, the private sector has gleefully demonstrated that it's perfectly willing to exploit the situation and actually make a fucking business out of the problem. That's about the time for the government to step in and put the hammer down.

The only danger is that whenever the government steps in, there's a very real danger of making a problem worse despite all the best intentions. The individual state's efforts real legacy may be of giving some real, working examples of how to potentially fix the issue before it's tried out on a national level - that's certainly not unprecedented.

BTW, does anyone know why, in fact, the senate's patent reform bill is actually being held up (other than "politics" or "lobbyist")?

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (3, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47014815)

Who knows, it was Leahy's call. [techcrunch.com]

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (2)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 2 months ago | (#47015025)

Who knows, it was Leahy's call. [techcrunch.com]

Interesting, thanks for the link. According to the article at least, it sounds like the bill has been just delayed a bit longer rather than stalling outright. Also, the writer of that article appears optimistic that it could actually pass, which makes sense, given that it's apparently a bi-partisan bill.

Republicans want the law to require the losing party in a patent-infringement suit to pay the other’s legal fees. A reasonable idea, certainly. Democrats appear worried that some suits that do have merit may not be undertaken, provided the possibility of larger legal fees if an even reasonable suit fails.

Hopefully they'll hammer out a reasonable compromise. I can see the merits of both arguments here. The big issue is whether there have been any significant number of legitimate patent suits which would otherwise have been discouraged. Call me cynical, but I'd sort of be surprised if there actually were that many, given how badly the system is being abused right now. At this point, I'm probably willing to swing the pendulum a bit to the other side and go with "loser pays" penalties, since for so long there's been a massive financial incentive for actually abusing the system. I think it would help to balance the equation a bit. The law can always be amended in the future if the "loser pays" option turns out to be too harsh.

Should be interesting to see what happens with this.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 2 months ago | (#47015405)

Perhaps the Judge should have discretion on the "loser pays" . One of the big problems is how unsymmetrical some cases can be, eg little guy vs big guy

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47016279)

It cuts the other way too. It's just insult to injury if a small defendant (such as the small businesses targeted by the scanner trolls) against a troll ends up on the hook for the troll's legal fees. It could be enough to make even more pay the extortion.

Loser pays works great as long as confidence in the courts coming to a just decision in spite of a huge disparity of resources between defendant and plaintiff is near 100% AND confidence in the just nature of the laws themselves is about the same. I don't think we're there, especially in the area of IP.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47016825)

I like 'Loser pays the lowest amount either side paid'. In other words, if big corp spends $1,000,000 suing citizen A, who spends $5,000 for his defense, and Citizen A loses, he pays $5,000 of big corps bills. If it's reversed, same applies.

That would discourage massively disparate spending in court, while still protecting the innocent target of lawsuits to some degree.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47017549)

That would help. Eventually, either the massive costs of going to court must be curbed sharply or a scheme will have to come into play where a defendant with a half decent case is as likely to have a law firm pick it up speculatively as the plaintiff is (if you lose, pay nothing, blah blah blah).

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 2 months ago | (#47020487)

I like 'Loser pays the lowest amount either side paid'. In other words, if big corp spends $1,000,000 suing citizen A, who spends $5,000 for his defense, and Citizen A loses, he pays $5,000 of big corps bills. If it's reversed, same applies.

That would discourage massively disparate spending in court, while still protecting the innocent target of lawsuits to some degree.

The problem, I guess, is that could encourage patent trolls to simply hold down their own expenses while attempting to incur massive expenses on the plaintif. The idea is to discourage the "lottery mentality" of our current system, where patent trolls are attacking giant corporations in the hopes of a massive settlement or patent licensing fee. They're currently safe because their own expenses are relatively fixed (with retained lawyers on staff, or lawyers paid on commission - only if they win), while the defendant may be forced to spent a lot on their defense simply because of what's at state, or because of what they're being asked to prove.

Dryeo's answer probably makes the most sense here - leave it to the discretion of the judge. If they felt that the suit was brought without merit, they can order the plaintiff to pay 100% of the defendant's bills. If the suit was felt to be merited, then perhaps set at some minimum threshold, like what happens with criminal sentences.

It's not perfect, since it's still subject to the same sort of abuses by "specialty" judges. That, incidentally, is something that's may need to change as well - plaintiffs shouldn't be allowed to pick their private little courtroom to sue from. We see the abuse there as well. If you forced plaintiffs to sue in the home courts of the defendants, it might not be fair, as the judge may well be influenced by a powerful industry and act as its protector. Well, as it turns out, it's not fucking fair the other way either, as patent troll have built a nice little industry around judges that tend to favor their practices. Maybe for interstate disputes we should have to use some sort of lottery system, so these cases are randomly assigned to the territory of a disinterested 3rd party.

I don't know... things just get messy whenever lawyers are involved, because it's their damned jobs to find the maximum advantage within the framework of rules, and they'll keep doing so even if the rules change. It's sort of hard to fix a system like that, but for all we rant at lawyers, it's still better than the alternative. That is, it means that we're a society that's based on the idea, if not always the perfect execution, of the rule of law, and not the simple exercising of power.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (3, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 months ago | (#47015069)

Unless Texas is on that list, I'll give the states an "atta-boy", but it's not as though it will make a serious difference

I don't see how that's the case. It's about the threatening letters, not the place where a suit might be filed. If they're sending the letters to a company located in one of those states, it doesn't matter where the troll is located or where the suit might be filed.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 months ago | (#47015219)

It doesn't really make sense for anyone to be against federal regulation concerning patents, since the very existance of patents are federal regulations.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47017207)

I agree.

Patents are prescribed by the Constitution, making Federal regulations regarding same perfectly reasonable and correct.

Re:We'll take any victory, I suppose (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 months ago | (#47019307)

I'm not disagreeing with you, but my point was that it isn't because patents are prescribed by the Constitution. It is because patents ARE regulation. Shoes are footwear. Republicans are people. Bicycles are two wheeled vehicles, and patents ARE government regulation. It goes beyond reasonable and correct. Regulation is what patents are made of.

Idiots (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47014831)

I would try to avoid states that pass laws like this. Clearly this is a Federal matter.

Re:Idiots (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47015811)

That is the whole idea. They want the trolls to avoid their states. Even unenforceable laws have a deterring effect, since the troll can still be dragged to court and incur sky high legal fees despite having the case dismissed eventually, ten years later.

Re:Idiots (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47018653)

It discourages the trolls to operate, period, as long as the anti-trolling laws do not interfere with federal law, or patent rights protected by federal law, [which would lead to a legal challenge against the state act] ---- the rules of commerce, how property/trade work, dispute procedure, your abaility to send threatening blackmail/extortionate messages can be limited by the states.

That is the whole idea. They want the trolls to avoid their states.

However, if they do avoid my state, and the troll does choose to mail me a letter in violation of my state's laws, then I could still sue them in my own state, since their act of sending the letter to someone in my state means that they are doing business in my state -- they become subject to the local jurisdiction here.

You think the feds will bother? (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47016541)

I would try to avoid states that pass laws like this. Clearly this is a Federal matter.

And Congress has been shown themselves to be right on top of this issue too... [/sarcasm]

Congress has shown zero appetite for dealing with this matter. Until they can actually be bothered to do something in the interest of the country I'm fine with states taking up the slack where they can.

Pointless (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#47014837)

This is pointless since patents are administered by federal law. Any troll wanting to extort money is going to sue in an out of state venue (preferably Texas), immediately stepping up to the federal courts.

Re:Pointless (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47014883)

This is pointless since patents are administered by federal law. Any troll wanting to extort money is going to sue in an out of state venue (preferably Texas), immediately stepping up to the federal courts.

Federal courts can apply state laws, too. Happens all the time - most of the civil cases that go to federal court are not because of any federal law, but because of diversity jurisdiction: plaintiff in one state, defendant in another, amount in controversy over $75k, and you've got federal subject matter jurisdiction. But they apply state contract or tort law as necessary.

That said, there is a preemption issue here... States can't rule on the validity of a patent, because that explicitly is federal law. If bringing a suit under one of these laws means you're claiming the patent is invalid, then the state law may be preempted and your case would get bounced.

On the other hand, if you're just alleging a false claim generally, without needing to rule on the underlying patent, then you're probably okay. For example (and yes, I know it's a copyright case not a patent case, but the underlying concept is the same), Righthaven sent out a bunch of letters threatening suit for copyright infringement... for copyrights that they didn't own. Ruling that those threats were frivolous and extortionate doesn't require any ruling as to whether the copyrights were valid or that there was infringement. The same thing could be done here: if some troll sends out threatening letters for a patent they don't actually own, then they'd be in trouble. But honestly, who's going to do that, when it's such an obvious failure?

/I am a patent attorney; I am not your patent attorney. This post is only for (my) amusement purposes only.

Re:Pointless (4, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 months ago | (#47015359)

I think in these cases it'd be even simpler: the letters don't actually spell out what part of the patent is infringed or how the recipient infringes it. It'd be the equivalent of sending a letter saying the recipient's violated a contract and has to pay penalties or face a lawsuit, without saying what contract, with who, or how the recipient's violated it. The state should be able to deal with that aspect of it without going anywhere near the patent itself, that kind of behavior should constitute bad faith even if the underlying patent's valid.

A lot of trolls do send out letters without any basis, because a lot of people will take a cheap settlement rather than spend the money to fight it, go through discovery and all it's costs, and get the suit dismissed. Take a look at the SCO v. IBM lawsuit, where the SCO executives were fairly explicit about not caring whether their claims would stand up or not because it'd cost IBM more to fight and win than to settle so they figured IBM would just settle. Anti-patent-troll laws aimed at this sort of vague accusation help because it forces trolls to be explicit up front about what they're accusing their victims of which gives their victims more opportunity to knock the accusations down early on before it gets expensive.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014919)

States should make it a criminal offence to get the trolls in jail. Writing threatening letters without merit should be a criminal matter.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015567)

This is pointless since patents are administered by federal law. Any troll wanting to extort money is going to sue in an out of state venue (preferably Texas), immediately stepping up to the federal courts.

That's not the point.

Taking somebody to court, and sueing them, costs money. Possibly not small amounts, and if you end up trying it on somebody like newegg who makes a point of fighting as hard as they can, its likely you'll spend more money in court than the court will award you.

So you have a lawyer send out tens or hundreds of thousands of letters based on a patent or two, and a vaguely worded threat about how it might cost a lot to get sued. Would you care to license our technology/settle out of court for less than the cost of going to court?

To Patent Trolls that don't make any actual product or service with their patents their business is literally extorting money from a company actually making something, suing takes more time and money than spamming out threatening letters and seeing who coughs up money.

Suing me in East Texas or wherever costs, sitting in an office and mass mailing form letter threats costs almost nothing. Its cheap and easy to send a threatening letter to almost anyone, but if you had the option of suing in open court or shutting the hell up, I bet the fraction of cases in court is a lot smaller than the number of threatening letters patent trolls send.

States passing these laws will make it illegal to send these kinds of trolling letters. It effectively raises the cost of their business. Ideally to the point where patent trolling is not a profitable enterprise. Probably not, but we can dream.

Not pointless (3, Informative)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 months ago | (#47015661)

This is about the threat letters, not about actual court cases. If they really will have a case, they will start an actual case, is the idea behind these laws. Trying to threaten someone by claiming you will sue them for a high amount of dollars if they don't pay up a few hundred will be made illegal, not actually the actual suing. This is more about the extortion and blackmail part of the letters than the actual court cases that might ensue.

Re:Not pointless (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47015831)

Well, 'threaten someone by claiming you will sue them' is probably covered by various laws against fraud and blackmail already. A big problem in the USA is that there are too many incompetent lawyers that don't know law.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014839)

I wonder if they'll be able to avoid federal preemption here as I suspect the trolls will claim something of the sort. Also, the patent courts already try to make fee shifting nearly impossible even for the most ridiculous assertions and otherwise defend the patent gravy train, so perhaps they'll just take jurisdiction over these claims and make bad faith a nearly impossible standard to meet.

take that you fucking jew bastards! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47014845)

go back to the middle east you leeches.

Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (2)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47014847)

So, their solution to a badly drafted, overly broad and ridiculously vague piece of legislation is... more legislation? And further, each state wants to introduce its own flavour of law into the picture?

What a nightmare. Instead of having to deal with one bad piece of federal legislation, you now have 1 federal and potentially 50 state laws to worry about. The only ones rubbing their hands in glee are patent lawyers.

The only real solution is patent reform, and the stalling members of the Senate [thehill.com] ought to lose their jobs.

One of the main sticking points for members so far has been a proposal to make it easier for the losing party in a meritless patent lawsuit to pay the winner’s court fees.

*rolls eyes*

In the meantime, the rest of the country has to deal with the consequences [eff.org] .

6092 patent lawsuits were filed in 2013, a 12.4% increase over 2012.
Of the top ten filers of patent lawsuits in 2013, every single one was a patent troll.
The most litigious patent owner was notorious troll ArrivalStar, which filed 137 lawsuits.
Patent cases clustered in a handful of federal district courts, with 1495 filed in the Eastern District of Texas and 1336 in the District of Delaware (including 900 before a single Eastern District of Texas judge).

Re:Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (3, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47014899)

6092 patent lawsuits were filed in 2013, a 12.4% increase over 2012.

That figure's a bit misleading. Thanks to the AIA and several legitimate patent reform acts, patent trolls can't sue "Microsoft and Google and Apple and Joe Schmoe from Florida" in one suit anymore, something they did to force reasonable venues in Texas (halfway between Joe Shmoe and the other parties). So, now they file three suits against Microsoft, Apple, and Google, and leave Joe Schmoe out - 3 times the suits, 75% of the defendants, which is actually an improvement.

Re:Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (3, Insightful)

eWarz (610883) | about 2 months ago | (#47014957)

Making 'patent law' a nightmare IS the goal behind the laws. If laws are different in every state it makes patent trolling much harder (which makes things unprofitable).

Re:Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47016043)

Making 'patent law' a nightmare IS the goal behind the laws. If laws are different in every state it makes patent lawyers rich.

FTFY.

Re:Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47015125)

So, their solution to a badly drafted, overly broad and ridiculously vague piece of legislation is... more legislation?

The only real solution is patent reform, and the stalling members of the Senate ought to lose their jobs.

So, your solution to a badly drafted, overly broad and ridiculously vague piece of legislation is... more legislation?

I'll never understand the mindset that thinks passing laws and creating regulations is bad.

The only way that could possibly work is if you think the world is already perfect as is, or if you want judges to decide everything instead of Democratically elected representatives (which includes some, but not all judges)

Re:Like applying bandaid to a gushing wound (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015157)

I believe the point is more that the solution to broad/vague legislation is not more vague/broad legislation, but rather to go back and rethink the original legislation.

Laws and regulations are not bad, poorly crafted laws and regulations are bad, and throwing more layers on will likely only make it harder to fix all the problems with the core.

Does 10 out of 50 still count as many? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47015133)

[nt]

The "patent troll" problem is three law firms. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 months ago | (#47015169)

Most of the "patent troll" problem comes from three law firms. [trollingeffects.org] They're the only ones who've sent out more than two demand letters, according to the EFF.

Re:The "patent troll" problem is three law firms. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47016507)

This site is hilarious, but in no way relates to the actual number of demand letters sent by a long shot.

I'm confused (1)

statemachine (840641) | about 2 months ago | (#47015281)

Is this another +5 Troll thread?

So.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47015509)

Ten less states where Apple can sue Samsung?

Re:So.. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47015835)

I've been wondering whether Samsung could file counter suits in these ten states against Apple, to fight fire with fire.

Re:So.. (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 2 months ago | (#47017375)

Please, Samsung copies Apple phones so slavishly... every tiny detail. The intellectual property laws are so weak protecting Apple. For eg: iphone 5c comes in bright colors white, blue, pink, green and 5s is gold. Guess what, Samsung now has gold, green, white, blue, pink phones with a slightly different texture (dots instead of flat color). Granted you can't protect colors, but my point is Samsung copies everything Apple does.

It would be a fscking joke if Samsung were to sue Apple for copying their stuff.

Eh? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 months ago | (#47016011)

The title is confusing. Is it "Anti Patent-Troll" laws or is it "Anti-Patent Troll" laws???

It's a slight difference there in the semantics.

40 states left! (1)

kwiecmmm (1527631) | about 2 months ago | (#47016659)

At least my "Snarky Internet Forum Post" Copyright will still hold up in a few places.

This is the way it's supposed to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47017603)

This is a Constitutional Republic, and the States here are doing what they are supposed to do. Good for them. We need to stop looking at the Fed for everything, as that was not the original intention of the Constitution.

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