The Kind Of Behavior That Only Cousins In Kentucky Should Get Away With

I would apologize to Kentuckians but, as I’ve mentioned before, I lived there for a time during my formative years so I’m allowed to pick on my one-time home state.  Also?  Drew Curtis, Patent Troll Slayer, for Governor.  Vote, y’all.

In another alarming chapter of the “saved from a troll by a troll” play book, Jump Rope misses the rope itself and jumps straight into bed with Erich Spangenberg.  Like Ditto before him, Mr. Braxton of Jump Rope found himself in the unfortunate position of having to take investment money from one of the founders of the business model that put his company in jeopardy to begin with.

It seems a little “Munchausen by proxy”-ish to create a problem and then try to rescue people from it, Erich.  It’s like marrying your cousin, which is only allowed, if I’m not mistaken, in Kentucky.

IP Troll Tracker

In reading a little more background to the story, it looks a lot like personality comes into play here, on the Smart Options side (Smart Options is the company that sued Mr. Braxton and Jump Rope).  It looks to me like what you have is a very small man, in mind if not in physical stature, who didn’t like that Braxton wouldn’t play.

“It’s not clear-cut whether our patents cover what Peter Braxton is doing,” [the attorney for Smart Options] said. “What’s clear-cut is that he chose to say ‘no’ to more than half a dozen reasonable relationships we laid out for him.”

First of all, “reasonable” is in the eye of the beholder so don’t make it out like you’re being generous.  Secondarily, as Braxton pointed out,

But why should Mr. Braxton strike any deal with Smart Options, given that a judge had found that his software didn’t infringe its patent?

(Emphasis mine.)  The answer is because, as we’ve seen over and over again with patent trolls, they want you to pay up (or just disappear, in another sick and twisted plot theme I’ll be exploring in the coming weeks) and won’t stop harassing you until you do.

I wonder what happens in a person’s life as children that they feel the need to throw their weight around as adults? What galls me the most is this white hat status that the likes of IP Nav are trying to throw around.

 

Here he comes to save the daaaayyy!!

Here he comes to save the daaaayyy!!

Whatever.  It’s opportunistic and you know it.  As Mike Masnick at TechDirt puts it:

The story tries to play this out like a “patent troll done good,” but it’s horrifying. It’s one patent troll beating up on a startup, and then allowing a second one to come in and vulture up the leftovers. It’s certainly not good for innovation in any way.

I feel for Mr. Braxton and for Kate Endress of Ditto who were so backed into a corner that they had to choose from two really bad options:  shutter the company or deal with the devil.

I’m not as convinced as Mike is that patent reform at the national level will take care of the problem without creating a bigger mess down the road.  But there has to be a better way than what just happened here.

JustSayin_small_New

IPTT

{Mullet-headed man meme found here.  Mighty Mouse image found, inexplicably, here. Base for Mighty Mouse/Spangenberg morph found here.}

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UCLA Is Making Bad Choices, Someone Tell Its Mother

I don’t like to be a tattle tale, but someone needs to run this up the chain of command out there in La La land because UCLA is making a poor choice, and one poor choice leads to another and then the next thing you know they’re choosing rock music over easy listening and putting purchases on credit cards and driving over the speed limit and going to 6th street and…

Wait, what?

austin_sixth_street IP Troll Tracker

I’ve never been to 6th street and I’ll never go again.

 

UCLA has chosen our esteemed sous-to-be Chef Nathan Mhyrvold as its 2015 commencement speaker.

Nathan Myhrvold, an inventor, entrepreneur, author and UCLA alumnus, will be the keynote speaker for the UCLA College commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 12. He will speak at both the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. ceremonies in Pauley Pavilion.

First of all, you missed an adjective or two.  It should read like this:

Nathan Myhrvold, an inventor, entrepreneur, author, patent troll, Sous Chef, and UCLA alumnus, will be the keynote speaker …

Also?  You spelled “renowned” wrong.  It’s “infamous”.

“Nathan exemplifies the unbounded spirit of a Bruin,” said Joseph Rudnick, senior dean of the UCLA College and dean of physical sciences

If by “unbounded spirit” you mean “boundary-less money monger spirit”, then OK.  What has he done to deserve such a place of honor among the alumni?  Behold:

Under his leadership, Intellectual Ventures manages one of the largest and fastest-growing intellectual property portfolios in the world, with more than 40,000 assets and over $6 billion in total committed capital from many of the world’s most innovative companies and renowned academic and research institutions.

I didn’t understand a word of that, but PTT™ did:

Under his leadership, Intellectual Ventures and its myriad subsidiaries has amassed one of the largest and fastest-growing collections of trollable patents in the world, with over $6 billion in total extorted capital from many of the world’s most innovative companies, some of whom can no longer afford to be in business because of the threat of lawsuits.  Also, he wants to be a chef.

(Sorry about that last sentence, sometimes PTT gets punchy on Mondays.)

The coolest thing about this is that at least one student on campus has heard of Mr. Mhyrvold’s goings on and took the opportunity to say “Duuude, we need to vet these speakers before y’all go off bringing in trolls and stuff.”  Or something like that.

What he actually said is spot on:

He is the cofounder [sic] of Intellectual Ventures, the worlds biggest “patent troll,” a company that exploits the loopholes in the patent-granting system by collecting patents and suing other companies, both big and small, hoping to get a piece of their revenue.

Welcome to the side with the white hats, Ari.

I only wish I had taken myself up on my dreams of attending UCLA so I could write a scathing letter to the Alumni Association, letting them know how I felt about this bad apple choice of a speaker.

JustSayin_small_New

IPTT

 {Image from 6th street from my personal collection here.}