Wherein The Fox Tells Us How To Guard The Hen House

I’m no chicken farmer, but I’ve watched enough Foghorn Leghorn to know that you don’t put the fox in charge of the hen house.  Nor, I submit, would it be wise to take advice on how to punish the real trolls from a real troll.

I must take a moment here and congratulation the author, Mr. Peter “I invented the troll term, y’all!!” Detkin on his vocabulary.  I love phrases like “feckless” and “assembly-line” when referring to lawsuits.  Looks like someone found his thesaurus over the weekend!

Among Peter’s advice on how to deal with “real” trolls is the following, with my comments in my favorite color blue following:

  • Look for companies that send dozens or even hundreds of identical, cut-and-paste “demand letters” at the same time.  Right there with ya, Pete.  That Patent Tool gets more and more of these every day.  But see, since this isn’t how you operate this piece of advice won’t affect you, now will it?  Great choice for a lock on the old coop door, there!  Strike One.
  • Look for companies that file lawsuits without attempting to enter into negotiations or doing any pre-filing analysis; Negotiations come in many forms.  There’s good faith negotiations where both sides have an interest in a mutually satisfying outcome, and then there’s what you guys do.  By virtue of the fact that you are Intellectual Ventures, funded heavily by your buddies at Microsoft, you’re the ultimate deep pockets.  Your negotiation can be tantamount to, oh, I dunno, showing up with the paperwork?  So once again, Mr. Fox, your attempts at protecting the  chickens falls flat.  Strike Two.
  • Look for companies that make big financial demands, without any attempt to justify the numbers. I‘m not sure how this is advice, because isn’t one of the problems with patent trolling the fact that they don’t disclose their settlement demands?  Many times, it’s not even in the threat demand letter…no, they use wording that’s much more generalized.  While we are trying to get that data, and actually do have a good chunk of it for those crazy Scanner Dudes, it’s not always available.  Besides which, justifications are like a**holes: everyone’s got one.  Trolls operate under the “ends justifies the means” most of the time, so no attempt or a stupid attempt to justify big demand numbers is irrelevant.  Strike three.

I’ll absolutely grant that the SHIELD Act is not going to do much good.  It’s rare that I agree with a troll, but I’m woman enough to admit it when it happens.  Kudos for recognizing that legislation isn’t the panacea (whose got a thesaurus now, huh?) we want it to be.

One thing I intensely dislike is when people use the “but the other guy is worse” excuse for their own poor behavior.  Bad behavior is rarely relative.  This is the approach IV is talking about here.  I believe it’s called “poor justification”…see third bullet point above:

Patent infringers can be as ruthless with frivolous litigation tactics as any alleged “trolls.” Some infringers even fire the first shot.

Just because the other guys are ruthless and use frivolous litigation tactics doesn’t mean it’s right.  That’s a lazy out, and I think you know it.

In life and in business, I tend to seek out advice from people who are honest and authentic.  People whose words match their actions.  Intellectual Ventures?  You fall into neither category.

When you are a company that owns tens of thousands of patents and portends to be a hotbed of innovation yet can’t bring a single innovative product to market, and when you are a company who has thousands of shell companies doing your dirty work for you, I don’t understand how you can write this stuff with a straight face.


What, I say WHAT are you tryin’ to pull, boy??



{Foghorn Leghorn image courtesy of, and if this isn’t irony I don’t know what is, Looney Tunes.}

One thought on “Wherein The Fox Tells Us How To Guard The Hen House

  1. Pingback: Millions of Dollars Worth of Lobbying From Patent-Trolling Giants Can Render Reform Against Trolls Effective Only Against Small Trolls | Techrights

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