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.
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.
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.