Hold On To Your (White) Hat, I Partially Agree With Barry At IPNav

A few summers ago, I decided to adopt a Doctrine of Reasonableness to follow in all aspects of my life.  This allows me to say things like “It’s reasonable that I should go for a jog at least three days a week.” or “It’s unreasonable to expect that anyone in this household will remember to turn off a light when exiting a room.” or “It’s reasonable to treat people with whom I hold diametrically opposing views as human beings worthy of my respect in spite of the differences.”

It’s that last one that permits me to come forth and say, without a hint of contradictoryness, that I agree with Barry Leff on his liking of this blog post over at IP Nav.  Well, parts of it anyway.  OK, only this one part, but still:

Government’s knee-jerk reaction to a problem is to pass a law. It makes it look like the government is responsive. Never mind if the law is flawed, or doesn’t properly address the issue that was the stimulus for the law.

You can’t see me (can you??), but if you could, you’d see a normally mild mannered individual jumping up and down, fist-pumping the air.  Barry, this is exactly the point I made when discussing Schumer’s new law.  The fact that the Government is standing up and taking notice of the problem of patent trolls and their patent trolling ways can’t ever be considered a bad thing, but we have to remember that it was, in fact, a government agency (hello, USPTO) that started this whole racket in the first place by issuing poor patents, among other missteps.  So to go back to that watering hole and expect a solid solution is just…well, kinda dumb.

He goes on to say

The law, however, is a mess, and we wonder whether the legislature had anyone with experience in patent litigation actually look at it before they approved it.

Ok that right there is funny.  Funny “ha ha”, as well as funny because you can’t seriously expect a government that doesn’t even read it’s own bills before signing them into law to make any effort whatsoever at having any particular bill reviewed by experts at any point in the process.   Because that?  That would make sense.  (Points for the most repeated use of the word “any” in a single sentence go to:  IPTT.)

Sadly, my trip on the I {Heart} IP Nav train was quickly derailed when I read this:

… if a company sees that another company is infringing one of its patents, in its first letter to the offending company it has to reveal many details about the case, including which patents are being infringed, who owns the patent, and how the patent is being infringed.

followed by this:

In patent litigation there are tactical advantages to being the first one to file a lawsuit.  If a company is being threatened with patent litigation it can file a declaratory judgment, in essence “heading the patent owner off at the pass” and taking the initiative. As a result, first letters from patent owners may intentionally be vague, and may request a forbearance agreement, meaning that the allegedly infringing company agrees not to sue first unless certain conditions are met – before the details are revealed.

Here’s where the VT law differs from what the G-men on Capital Hill are doing:  The word you’re looking for here is “exposure”.  I’m not a lawyer, and that sort of legal maneuvering may well be strategically sound, but I can say this: if you’re hiding something, there’s a problem.  If I’m being sued I ought to be able to know who’s really suing me and what for.  Right?  I mean, isn’t that what truth, justice, and the American way is all about?  Besides being Superman’s rally cry, I mean.

It’s just like Han Solo said to Luke in that famous exchange before they all got sucked into the rebellion full scale:

Luke: “You know, between his howling and your blasting everything in sight, it’s a wonder the whole station doesn’t know we’re here.”

Han: “Bring ’em on! I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.”

Chewbacca Han Solo

Howlers to the left of me, blasters to the right.
Stuck in the middle with you.

If you’re not doing anything wrong, if suing people for patent infringement over legitimate patents that are actually being infringed is what you’re doing, then SAY THAT and quit sneaking around.  Let people know what you’re after and let the chips fall where they may, law-wise.  Let a judge and jury decide because that’s kind of what the court system is for.  It is, as every complaint I’ve ever read says, a “prayer for relief”.

That’s what we’re looking for…relief from the scourge that is the patent troll.    As has been noted here before, I don’t think going to the Government for help is the solution.  I use a big “G” here for the  feds…what VT is doing is different, and takes a bigger and better sized chunk out of the trolls than what the SHIELD act and Schumer are doing.  The fact that the “most notorious patent troll” out there is complaining about it says something, no?  Perhaps they’re a little concerned that their style may start to get a little cramped.

But hey…for a few sentences there, we had a good thing going, IP Nav!  Thank you for the dinner and nice bottle of wine, but I’m not holding out hope for a second date.

Just sayin’,


One thought on “Hold On To Your (White) Hat, I Partially Agree With Barry At IPNav

  1. Pingback: More Government Targeting of Patent Trolls, Not Patent Scope | Techrights

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