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!”