I know the Life 360 app because my husband installed it on my iPhone prior to a trip to NYC. I went there because first of all, New York City is the best place ever for short visits where you don’t mind not seeing the sky and are comfortable standing out like a sore thumb because you’re from Texas and bring your boot bling with you everywhere.
Secondly, I was there to support my in laws through my Father-in-law’s cancer scare. The city is built on a grid and the streets and avenues are all numbered and the street signs are very clear so pretty much? If you get lost in NYC there is something seriously amiss with your internal GPS. Nevertheless, all parties involved (read: elderly in-laws from Alabama) felt it might be best if I had some way to check in from the mean streets of mid-town Manhattan when I would venture out after dark to get my Subway sandwich and black and white cookie. Fair enough.
I know the app, is my point. I “internet met” the owner, Mr. Chris Hull, when he potty-mouthed a reply to a supposed patent troll and I wrote about it here. Today, Joe Mullin (Hi Joe!) wrote up the end of the story and boy are there some gold nuggets here, my friends.
The issue I had back then was that under my definition, AGIS didn’t look or feel like a patent troll to me. They had built a product using their patented technology (LifeRing) for one, as opposed to just buying up old stodgy patents and trying to litigate them. They only have a portfolio of 11 patents, which is somewhere south of the 500 bagillion that, say, Intellectual Ventures has. Still, I understood Chris’s frustration, as he had been sued a few times in the past by legitimate trolls and was smooth fed up with it.
I predicted then, and it looks like I was right, that he wouldn’t get the patents invalidated (they weren’t). But what he did do is spend a fair amount of money fighting infringement. He won there, but that’s not why I’m adding him to my Patent Troll Fighter Heroes Gallery.
Chris Hull, you and Life360 are hereby officially inducted into the Gallery because you and your attorneys succinctly nailed one of the underlying problems in the patent industry, and were not afraid to say it:
“[AGIS’s] lawyers sold him a bill of goods, that he invented this very well-known concept.”
Sometimes the trolls collect old patents and go out and hammer everyone for them, a business model IP Nav and Intellectual Ventures and Marathon Group espouse.
This isn’t the case here. Mr. Beyer (CEO of AGIS) had attorneys who saw an opportunity, thanks to the likes of the real and larger trolls, to try and capitalize on patents when they weren’t able to capitalize as well as they’d like to on actual products.
That’s a true shame, because I think in the absence of the patent trolling industry the outcome of this would have been completely different. The dialogue on the front end would have gone differently and perhaps resulted in, if not a patent licensing agreement, some sort of synergy between Life360 and AGIS.
Because his lawyers are jerks and took a page from the trolls, Mr. Beyer is also a victim here:
Beyer, reached by telephone yesterday, said he “resents Mr. Hull characterizing me as a troll.” His company has sold software for 10 years, and won one contract in 2015 already.
“I also resent him dragging AGIS and me through the mud because of ads,” he said, referring to the Stop AGIS and malcomkbeyer.com websites. “I’ve never said anything bad about Mr. Hull and I don’t intend to. I’m exhausted, and I’m going to have to take time to think about life, and this in general.”
What Mr. Beyer needs to think about, in addition to life in general, is sending a “Dear Piece of Shit” letter of his own to his attorneys for getting him into this mess.