Something Awesome This Way Comes (on September 18th)!

For my last post, I was complaining about Adam Carolla and am sad to report that he has neither answered my question nor taken me to dinner.  Thanks for nothing, you crybaby, you!  I still think I’m on the right side of that one, ya’ll.  He’s just being stupid.

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Not lost on me, the photo is of a little girl…

 

Next up: you all remember your 9th grade English class and having to read Ray Bradbury, don’t you?  In a twisted take on the title (because alliteration, for the win!), today’s topic (!!) involves something very near and dear to me, which is exposing patent trolling behavior for the nastiness that it is.  There are a myriad of ways to do that, but the one I chose was to collect and report on demand letters, those pesky, threatening diatribes sent out en mass by companies who buy up nefarious and/or never-should-have-been-issued patents and set about antagonizing people into paying a license for them or face scary-expensive litigation.

In February of a couple of years ago, I was driving to The Woodlands, TX to pick up a check for some consulting work I was doing at the time and whilst sitting in my Ford F-150 it struck me:  If I can put up a website for people to enter in their demand letters, maybe we can build a database of information about who these trolls are, how and where they operate, what they’re asking for, and who they’re sending letters to.  This is pre-litigation information, and therefore it’s not obtainable through public resources like actual lawsuit information is.  If people would come and input information, we could get out ahead of litigation and, possibly, prevent it.

How?  Well, my thinking was (and remains) that if I provide a way for people to discuss these letters anonymously, maybe they can get together and form a proper defense.  I want That Patent Tool to be the first place someone goes when they receive a demand letter, a place they can do a search and find out if their patent has been at play before, see who else got a letter, and maybe log into the forum and start poking around.  See, the thing is, these guys work on anonymity and cloaking and being all secretive.  If I can get people to enter in information and expose, at the very least, the patents they’re threatening over and the amounts they’re asking for, that might clue others in.  Then, everyone who’s been sent a letter can stand up and say “Um, no.  We don’t think so.  You’re going to have to take us all to court if you want to see a dime.”

Imagine.  Imagine what that would do to the trolling business model.  They count heavily on being able to sneak in licensing requests that are either low enough for Mom & Pop to shell out for with a simple-interest loan from rich Uncle Bob, or just below the litigation cost threshold so bigger companies will sign over a check and have done with it.  They’re not stupid, these guys.

But if we can expose this model and get people searching a database and talking about it, we can force the trolls to take it to litigation every single time.  I’m no mathematician, but that’s gotta put a hurtin’ on a war chest, right?

So I created That Patent Tool in less than a week of coding.  I spent a day finding proper hosting and buying the domain and then six days and nights coding.  I may or may not have gone that entire week without showering and now you can never say I’m not transparent and authentic because that right there is keeping it real, folks.  I don’t even remember if I ate, it’s all a blur.  I know I busted out the rally cap a few times, because nothing says “I’m a legit coder” than wearing your husband’s baseball cap backwards and taking a selfie.

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Fun facts: This is one of two known selfies in existence because I’m neither a 12 yr old girl nor a Hollywood starlet (obviously), and oh look! Crumbs on my shirt, which means I ate at least *something* that week.  And now you know.

Anyway, here we are two-plus years later and what has the USPTO gone and done?  Set up a webinar to help business owners find relief from patent litigation.  It’s all right here in their flyer.  And if you’ll look closely on their list of resources for people who’ve been sued, you will find a familiar link.

The webinar takes place this Thursday, September 18th from noon-1:00 Eastern.  Login details in the flyer linked above.

I plan to attend and would encourage anyone and everyone to spread the word and join in!  If I can find a way to hack into the system and make myself presenter, I may even give some advice in person.  Just kidding, Uncle Sam!!  I’m not an attorney so I can’t give advice.

The hacking thing might happen though…

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IPTT

{Hilarious crying baby photo taken by Jill “Like Candy From A Baby” Greenberg.  Check her out, she’s awesome.  Selfie by me because that’s what a selfie is.}

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