If ever there were a series of words that no one in their right mind would ever think to string together, the title of this post is it. Yet? It be true.
Thanks to the power of WordPress’s front page that somehow manages to feed me patent troll stories that actually matter to me (how is no one else able to do this, Google?) I stumbled upon this little gem here from Mr. Brian Francisco at The Journal Gazette (www.journalgazette.net, say that 10 times fast for some fun.)
Evidently, the trolls are going after companies who put in and support networks responsible for the 911 system:
Mark Grady, founder and president of INdigital Telecom, said Wednesday that “the inappropriate assertion of poor-quality overly broad patents” threatens 911 networks provided by his company and others.
Love how he put that: “inappropriate assertion of poor-quality overly broad patents”. He must be part British because that’s exactly the type of understated language they use. “Oh, Bother! It seems as though we’ve been sent a notice of legal action, wherein we are assumed to be infringing on someone else’s intellectual property. Let’s ring up the barrister and see if he’s got a spot of time to discuss…”
No matter how you put it, it appears the troll infestation has reached the low point of going after those who provide services that help ensure our very safety. Niiice. Thankfully, I’ve never had to avail myself of the services of 911, though I did have to call an emergency vet once when my dog ate a dead bird and I was sure he’d have Avian Flu within the hour. (They laughed at me and told me I was being ridiculous, so thanks for that, Emergency Vet People.) But how can they continue to innovate and find better ways to better serve the public if they’re fighting off trolls?
“It is simply unfair to burden small businesses like ours with patent allegations that are no more substantive than a TV commercial,” Grady said.
“No more substantive than a TV commercial.” Ouch. I’ve compared patent trolls to a lot of things in my life, but a TV commercial? That’s just low, man. Love it.
He also makes a great comment about the patent system in general:
“As a small business person, an innovator, an employer and a citizen, I believe this cannot be Congress’s intent for our patent system. The patent system should not be used to put Americans’ lives and property in jeopardy by delaying their access to new and innovative 911 public safety and homeland security services.”
Well said. I don’t believe it’s Congress’s intent either. I think it’s an aberration, a deliberate circumvention of the spirit of the law to use poorly-written patents to go after companies via extortionistic tactics. And I think, much like Alan Schoenbaum at Rackspace has said, that it’s going to take an army of companies and solutions to combat the problem.
There are more and more solution opportunities out there, and eventually, we’re going to win the battle as more and more Mr. Grady’s stand up and demand action.
Go get ’em!