SurfCast’s Suit Against MSFT Has Just Been Invalidated, Prior Art Found

I hate bait and switch, but hopefully anyone following the industry would realize that the subject isn’t really true.  The case is set to go to trial in September.

But if this isn’t the very definition of “live tiles”, I don’t know what is.

For those not able to see the link, here’s a screen shot:


Image courtesy of CBS. I didn’t take this image, am not claiming to have taken it, and linked to the original source above so step off, Jack.


This is a shot of the latest headlines, as shown in the windows (no, the irony is not lost on that one) of Brockton Enterprises, a newspaper in Brockton, MA in the 1940’s.  When a new headline comes in, they remove an old one and update that slot with the new data in real time.  As in “live”.  And they use a tile format, so, you know, live tiles.

If there was a DEV study looking for prior art in this case, then IPTT, FTW.

Just sayin’,


Haiku Tuesday + Q&A

Reminder: 5-7-5

How do I love thee?
Let me litigate the ways
That’s what the trolls say

What’s up with SurfCast?
Trial date is September 3rd
Watch, they will settle

Can’t think of a third
Hate to leave it at just two
Maybe next time, huh?


Q: How many patent trolls does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The lawyers always win.

Doesn’t make sense? Read it again and tell me it’s not true.

Just sayin’,


Cause She’s Got {boom} Personality, {walk} Personality..

I commented on an attorney’s blog recently (Dan Pierron, here’s the link) that personality matters, and here’s yet another instance of that.

Newegg, God love them, took down a troll.  Get  those folks a beer, bar tend!!  What’s so interesting to me is this tiny little sentence:

Newegg’s Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng says that the attitudes of the court officials had a lot to do with Newegg’s win, when they finally decided that enough was enough and gave Soverain what it deserved.

Bold emphasis mine.  It makes a difference who you go in front of to try these troll cases.  It matters who your counsel is.  It matters who the troll is.

This is particularly true in the technology industry, where personality plays such a huge role in decision-making.  I’ve seen it personally when I was told many years ago that I was not the best coder for the job (wait…what??), but that I was outgoing and responsive and, well, the client liked me better than the other guy.  Even though it cost them a little more over time because I wasn’t quite as efficient, they’d rather have dealt with me than the other guy.  Personality made the difference.

Anyway, that was the point I made in commenting on this blog.  Not very many people have heard of Monsanto.  More have heard of DuPont, but not nearly as many as have heard of let’s say Dell, Apple, Cisco, etc. as Dan points out.  Dan Pierron further makes this point:

What’s more, from my perspective, the findings of infringement in both the CMU v. Marvell and Monsanto v. DuPont cases will have much more significant effects in terms of impact on the consumer than the Apple v. Samsung suit

The papers (did I just type that?  I meant online news sources, most assuredly) don’t talk about what’s important, they talk about what sells.  People don’t want to know that some chip-maker will drive up the cost of their kid’s Nintendo DS, they’re going to buy it anyway so that they can have peace and quiet as they drive over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.  Likewise, do people even know how much of what they eat contains soybeans and soybean by-products, over which Monsanto has a choke hold?  Not likely, or they wouldn’t actually eat them.  Soybeans?  Blech.

Here’s my comment on Dan’s entry, and I think it makes sense here as well, in that who you’re dealing with, individually and as a corporate entity, matters in terms of media coverage and what people think is important.

This is an interesting take…not only is the subject matter less interesting, the players are. Has anyone even heard of Monsanto? People outside of law firms, anyway, as you correctly pointed out? Not likely.

And yet, familiar as I thought I was with that case, I can’t think of a single name associated with it. In the troll world, however, you have the likes of Nathan Myhrvold who is by all accounts easy to hate. Steve Jobs is easy to love *and* hate. Then of course you have the original Troll Tracker issue with the shananigans and ballyhoo in EDTX and the ruffled feathers of poor Mr. Albritton.

The players really do make a difference, as does the industry they play in.

Well played, Mr. Dan.

Patent litigation is need of some seriously outrageous personalities on the bench.  From the opinion, which looks to have been written  by one Pauline Newman:

We conclude that the prior art CompuServe Mall system, by clear and convincing evidence, rendered obvious the “shopping cart” claims: claims 34 and 51 of the ’314 patent and claim 17 of the ’482 patent. These claims
are invalid; the district court’s contrary ruling is reversed.

I don’t know her but I like her already.  As Jesse James Dupree would say: “Puh POW!” Just say the words and make them stick.  That’s personality, folks.

Part of what it will take, in addition to more changes to the patent laws so that bogus patents are never even issued or moving to my favorite “use it or lose it” solution, is people with the type of personality to get stuff done and call it like it is.  Newegg’s corporate personality is one of “we’re not gonna take it” and the Judge’s is one of “yeah, you right!”

Just sayin’,


Top 4 1/2 Takeaways from the Article One Partners Researcher Webinar

I like nice round numbers as much as anyone, but I since I have a 2a, I couldn’t really say that there are five items on the list.  OCD, thou art my middle name.

Article One Partners hosted a webinar today for its researcher community.  I’m not a member of said community, but I signed up anyway.  Because I was beaten as a child raised by highly conscientious parents, I asked if it was OK for me to be there and they said yes so I stayed.  Paranoia, though art my other middle name.

So here’s what I took away:

1.  AOP now offers non-monetary rewards for good research.  This is huge, because not everyone is motivated by money alone.  In fact, it’s been my personal experience coming from the software development world that if you tell a programmer he can have $10,000 or his name listed on the credits for the app, he’d take the later.  It’s all about the “atta boy!”  I think this shows that Article One understands their crowd and how to motivate them.

2.  High volume, low value is a problem.  When it comes to submitting research for prior art, it is more important to be right than to be copious.  I think the slide deck said not to “throw things at the wall and see what sticks”.  In Texas, we call it the “spray and pray” approach, in reference to using a shotgun to hunt.  Lots of little balls go out, maybe one hits and maybe it doesn’t.  That’s fine if all you want is a little quail for dinner (with apologies to any vegetarian/non-hunting readers).  But if you want the good stuff you need a .22 rifle with good aim.  Ditto research.  Make it good, they said!

2a.  With respect to #2, as I understand it they rely on an “in-scope percentage” to award researchers with points.  A certain percentage of your submitted work must be rated by the reviewers as “in-scope” relevant to the client’s request.  This is what iStockPhoto does for it’s exclusive  contributors, such as {ahem} yours truly.  You can become an exclusive contributor, which yields higher royalties, after meeting certain criteria.  But even after that, you must maintain an approval rating of newly-uploaded photos that exceeds (I believe) 85%.  Just because you made it into the exclusive club, you have to work to stay there.  This is a good thing because it keeps the quality of photos high, and it keeps the number of bad photos submitted to the review queue down to a minimum.

3.  Researchers want access to the AOP database.  This is interesting, Big Data is a thing of mine.  I like to work with databases and got my programming start in database design.  Five normal forms, anyone?  I can see the dilemma they have though.  Massive amounts of research data and client data and internal data means that putting a searchable front-end on that for researchers would be costly and time-consuming.  Besides which, you’d have to ghost the data nightly because you definitely don’t want people in your live databases.  My suggestion, post webinar, was to create some sort of mini-download portal online whereby researchers could filter the data they want from available fields, and then download it in .txt or .csv format.  They could pull that subset of data into a local database and work with it to their heart’s content.   Win-win!

4.  Partial credit counts.  Again, this is my understanding from the webinar, but it seems that submitting research that is only partially relevant to the final outcome of a search request is rewarded.  Surely patents are not invalidated on the basis of prior art based on one single smoking gun.  It takes a whole set of evidence, I would imagine, to get the point across.  By rewarding people who get close to the mark or who contribute to a group of people who collectively hit the nail on the head, it encourages people to submit prior art that is “close”, #2 above notwithstanding.

The work that Article One is doing is such an important piece of the patent troll problem.  One way to stop the proliferation of these nonsense lawsuits is to invalidate bad patents.  Hit them at the heart of the matter.  And with now 27,000 researchers worldwide on the job?  Let’s just say some folks had better watch out!

Just sayin’,


In Defense of the Indefensible: That’s Not The Whole Truth And You Know It

Hello, Erin.  Nice article.

Here’s the thing…it is certainly admirable that there are companies out there who want to help the little guy.  In fact, that’s a point I made in my very own Backgrounder right here at IPTT2.  (Is it wrong to link to yourself?  Is that bad protocol?  Will it make my hit counts go up artificially?  ACK!)  But we all know good and well that that is not predominantly what Acacia and InterDigital do.

This is kind of why, when you’re sworn in under oath, you’re told to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  I once babysat for a kid who, in a moment of “out of the mouths of babes” that you just can’t script, said it like this:

You should always tell the truth, the whole truth, and everything but the truth!

…you know, like politicians!  He was a good kid.  Often wondered how he turned out, but I’m too afraid to look him up because he’d be in his 30’s by now and Good God above I cannot possibly be that old to have babysat him when he was eight.

But I digress.

The Patent Troll issue gets tons of play and it should and this is but one more article to add to the mix that tries to show that not everything is as awful as those of us on my side of the fence make it seem.  I think personally that there’s nothing wrong with defending a troll or two if there’s good reason.  Sure, some trolls actually do work to get the little guy inventor a good deal, but it is always with their own bottom line in mind, so not quite as altruistic as Erin’s article would make us believe.  I also realize that, as I pointed out in my war of words discussion with Charles Arthur, not everyone who sues over a patent is a troll.

But Acacia?  InterDigital?


Just sayin’,


Copywrong: Let’s Take Bets On How Long It Takes Someone To Sue These People

I’m not a copyright kinda gal, but this is interesting:

Studio Calico Instagrammed

Studio Calico is a Scrapbooking Manufacturing company.  They make papers and stamps and embellishments that women buy and use to record family memories.  Awesome hobby, to hear it told.  Instagram is H-U-G-E in this industry, because it’s so easy to take a picture of little Johnny and make it look spectacular with some of their filters.  So when this particular company released it’s “sneak peek” of items to be released this fall, this stamp was in there.

Can they do that?  I mean, did Instagram trademark the name and all derivatives?  Do they have to?

And I wonder if the issue is much larger now that Facebook has bought Instagram?  This post was originally drafted in July of 2012, which tells you that I don’t complete anything everything I start, so the proverbial “a lot” has happened since then.

Copyright infringement, at least as I understand it which is admittedly not very well, is actually pretty rampant in the Scrapbooking industry.  People copy each other’s ideas all the time.  Interestingly, there are precious few lawsuits over it.  Is it because the hobby was originated by Mormon women, and they as a whole seem non-litigious?  Is it because the industry doesn’t pay well enough to afford top-notch legal talent?

No, I think it’s because women have their own way of dealing with the issue:  shame.  Manufacturers of scrapbooking products, typically owned by women, call each other out on message boards, we publicly bad-mouth…hell, there’s a whole “scrap smack” blog where women can do nothing but bash the titans of industry.  That’s how we roll.

Facebook?  Maybe not so much.  Something tells me they’d be all over poor Studio Calico if they knew about it.

Just sayin’,