Can I just say that the people at http://www.tinyurl.com must love me for my titles. If brevity is the soul of wit, then I must be the un-funniest person around because in case you haven’t noticed? I like to talk. I’m constantly having to shrink down my own URLs for posting on Twitter, an app that by the way is sheer torture for someone afflicted with verbosity. 144 characters? Oh, the humanity.
Anyhoot, you can tell a lot about a man by what makes him angry. I’m not sure who said that but the older I get the more I see that truism played out. Which is why it’s always so interesting to me when a company gets called out on their behavior and they immediately send their PR guys in to comment on your blog posts (Hi Barry!!) or follow you on Twitter (Hi Erich/IP Nav!).
Remember Treehouse Avatar Technologies who went after gamers? A quick search on Gamepolitics.com will get you up to speed. The gist of it is, you know, patent trolling. Treehouse sent out form letters to game app developers hoping to score big. Bad Pug sent an epic response and I haven’t seen anything more on that story so if you have, let me in on it. What a slam. I mean, how embarrassed are you if you’re Treehouse’s attorneys?
Turns out? Not very. Here’s how they respond to accusations of patent trolling:
Thank you for contacting us. We represent Treehouse Avatar Technologies in its efforts to enforce its patents, including U.S. Patent No. 8,180,858. The letter we sent to Bad Pug Games is not a form letter. Our letter was directed to the particular game system of Bad Pug, and demonstrated the applicability of the technology in the ‘858 Patent.
As you know, developers of online games commonly seek to prevent the unauthorized use of their creations by registering copyrights and trademarks. In like manner, the developers of the subject game technology sought to protect their rights in their invention by securing a patent. We are now seeking, on behalf of our client, to enforce those patent rights and to thereby secure just compensation for the unauthorized use of this patented technology. We do not seek to prevent the use of this invention by those who wish to do so. Licenses are available on a fair and nondiscriminatory basis.
While your readers may have preconceived beliefs as to the enforcement of patent rights, it is important to remember that the entire video game industry is based on the technological revolution of the last few decades, which would have not occurred without the hard work and creativity of inventors like those we represent.
We are proud to represent Treehouse Avatar Technologies and hope this assists your readers in fully understanding the legal process.
Let’s have a little fun with this and fire up the Patent Troll Translater™:
Thank you for contacting us. We represent Treehouse Avatar Technologies in its efforts to extort money from game developers who can’t afford to hire a decent attorney. The letter we sent to Bad Pug Games is totally a form letter. Our letter was directed to anyone who collects information on how someone plays a game to then upsell them on in-app purchases. Which applies to every game on every platform.
As you know, developers of online games commonly seek to prevent the unauthorized use of their creations by registering copyrights and trademarks. In like manner, the developers of the subject game technology sought to protect their rights in their invention by securing a patent because we advised them on how the USPTO works, including the likelihood that such a stupid patent would get issued. We are now demanding, on behalf of our client, to enforce those patent rights and to thereby secure completely outrageous licensing fees for the unauthorized use of this stupidly patented technology. W’re not trying to stop you from using our technology because if you did then you’d get off on non-infringement. No, we would love for you to keep using it because then we can shake you down.
While your readers may be sharp enough to recognize a troll when they see one, it is important to remember that unless they can fight us off in court, we sort of have all these developers over a a barrel.
We are proud to represent Treehouse Avatar Technologies because we have no shame and hope this letter assists your readers in fully understanding the legal process. And also, calling us a troll is just mean. We respectfully request that you stop. Waaaah.
Stephen Roth (paraphrased)
According to his law firm bio, Mr. Roth “conducted psychological research on human perception”. That explains why he was bothered by the
perception reality that his client is a patent troll. He’s also “actively involved in the training of the firm’s litigation associates”, which totally makes him the Louis Litt of his firm.
I’ll always contend that if these trolls think what they’re doing is OK and there’s nothing wrong with sending out a bazillion letters (give or take) trying to sham money out of people then they shouldn’t feel the need to defend themselves. Just own what you’re doing and call it day, because when you write letters like that it only goes to show people that deep down inside, maybe, just maybe, you think what you’re doing is wrong.