Life360 Founder Uses Foul Language, Still Gets Sued

You know what the biggest problem with patent trolls is?  Oh sure, it’s that they cost companies buckets of money and stifle innovation by shutting down start ups.  Those are bad, of course, but the real tragedy here is that they make people like Chris Hulls call someone a “piece of shit” and then look stupid in the process.

Side note:  I was always taught as a child that if you had to use foul language, you were stupid because smart people are wordsmiths and can come up with a much better way to say whatever it is that a good, solid “FUCK YOU!” was meant to convey.  That, and I got a mouth full of Ivory soap for calling my older brother a jackass once (which his 11-yr-old self totally was) so yeah, I don’t cuss very often.

The story goes that Life360 has been patent trolled to death, they’re mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.  Tell me that’s the wrong attitude?  You can’t.  But the problem here is that AGIS doesn’t fit pretty much anyone’s definition of a “patent troll”.

To start with, they have 11 patents, with more pending.  Your typical troll will have one, perhaps as many as two, and both are so old they fart dust.  These guys?  Not so much.  Additionally, they actually make a product called LifeRing that services our military and first responders.  These aren’t the droids you’re looking for, Chris.



Which is the problem with trolls:  if they come at you often enough, you’re going to get fed up and react poorly to anyone’s attempt at a licensing deal.  It’s a sad by-product of the culture of trolling.  Life360 has been hit by four or five trolls so not exactly a hoard, but when you’re the start up, as we’ve talked about, every hit hurts.  And Hulls wasn’t in the mood to put up with anymore shenanigans and ballyhoo, so he blew up on the last guy to come after him.

The Pando Daily article quotes him as follows:

“I’m getting a huge groundswell of support for shunning standard legal advice, which feels great.  My plan is to take this fight the duration, invalidate the patent, and make sure they can’t do this to anyone else.  Who knows.. maybe it will make others take a stand?  As a broader idea, maybe this type of action needs to come from Series B/C/D companies, as smaller ones don’t have the cash for a fight, and bigger ones are beholden to their own legal teams.  We are right in the sweet spot where I can still make these brash decisions and apologize for the mess later.”

Listen dude, I’m all about the shunning.  I get that.  And to shun a lawyer?  DOUBLE POINTS.  But I don’t own a company and people aren’t depending on me for their livelihood and you so should have listen to your legal counsel because I think you picked the wrong guy to make an example of.  The AGIS request for licensing discussions is one you should have accepted.  You’d have paid a fair price, far less than what it will cost you to “take this fight the duration”, as it doesn’t seem these guys are out for blood, just recognition that they got there first.   Further, it doesn’t seem like you’ll get this thing invalidated (said she who gave it a cursory read and is not a patent attorney).


Nice guys don’t cuss, just ask Jerry Seinfeld.


I do want to say though, that I totally {heart} you for the whole “we can clean up the mess later because we’re funded, beotchez!”  I can only imagine how good it felt to say that.

My point though is that it’s sad that this is what companies have come to:  either being bankrupted trying to fight the real trolls or coming out swinging against an enemy that isn’t really there.

As the awesome folks at Above the Law put it in their write-up:

A response like this is what happens when you’ve been patent-trolled one time too many.




{Obi-wan image awesomeness found here. Picture of Chris Hulls found on Life360’s website.}