This Is Where The Cowgirl Rides Away

Remember when I said I wasn’t sure what this space would look like going forward?  Surely you do, I mean, I quoted a Toby Keith song  in that blog post and who doesn’t love a Toby Keith song?  No one, that’s who.

The thing is, writing here brings back memories that I would rather it didn’t.  Humpty Dumpty is together again, but should not go climbing back up on the wall because hello?  She He fell off of it.  Duh.

I do have a master plan for what will happen to the content, and if all goes well after I make some calls and send some emails and mail out actual, physical letters like they used to do in the olden days, this might not be the end of the IP Troll Tracker world as we know it.

Pony Express

But it’s the end of it here, because the kids in my home have nine months, 1.5 years, and 2.5 years, respectively, left at home before they are all in college, and the days are getting very short before the things that are most important to me will walk away.  If we’ve done our job right, they will start their lives as happy, well-adjusted, smart, sensitive, successful (however they each define it) individuals who knew their Mom/Step-Mom as someone who loved them first and above everything else in her life.  Even tracking patent trolls who remain the scourge of the intellectual property earth.

My wish is for anyone who has ever read here, ever cursed me under their breath or in email or on Twitter, ever laughed here, or ever been involved in this fight against intellectual property blackmail…that you would know me to be a kind-hearted, God-fearing and God-loving person who tried to win an as-yet-unwinnable battle against the Goliaths that struck fear in the hearts of demand letter recipients nationwide, and indeed worldwide.  For every answered call, consultation, comment and retweet and re-blog and shout-out and mention and follow…for all of the interaction I will remain forever grateful.  To think that a non-attorney, no-name wife and Mom from Katy, TX could generate any response at all, let alone go to the White House, as a result of a blog remains a stunner to me.

To the original Troll Tracker, I want to say thank you for not being angry that I picked up and ran with your blog idea.  To Mallun Yen, I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for you at RPX.  I remain deeply ashamed that my blog cut short any opportunities to continue working with you…the irony is just…awful.  I never apologized to you in person, and I’ll always be sorry for that.  To Bart Showalter and Kevin Meek, who sent me the very first nastygram spreadsheet that listed out companies who’d sent demand letters to your client while we worked at Baker Botts, I want to say how much I appreciate you bringing me into the fight.  Remember that day we found out who the Troll Tracker was?  I’ll never, ever forget it.  There are many others, too many to name here, but thank you all.



And my heart is sinking like the setting sun, setting on the things I wish I’d done.  Though the last goodbye’s the hardest one to say…this is where the cowgirl rides away.

~ George Strait

{Pony Express image found here.}

Finally, A Diagnosis: Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Note:  This was drafted forever ago, and in reviewing old posts I came across it.  I liked it and, unsure of why I never actually published it way back when, hit publish on it yesterday.  I expected, and I have no earthly idea why because that’s not even remotely how the space/time continuum works, that it would publish under the date it was drafted, and slot nicely in between other relevant (at the time) posts.  Only not so much.

So, enjoy this blast from the past and pretend that it’s relevant to now.  

I new there was a word for this and if I couldn’t find it I was just going to have to make one up.  The definition of my word would be: “Companies who create a problem that they are the only ones who can solve.”  Patent trolls are not a whole lot unlike those door-to-door salesmen of 1950’s American folklore who knocked on the front door and when you opened it, they tossed in a handful of dirt and then tried to sell you the “only vacuum in the world” capable of cleaning it up.  Not surprisingly, people became a little leery of opening their door to strangers and so someone had to invent the “No Soliciting” sign and a whole new industry and set of laws was born.  Thank you, Kirby vacuum guys.

Let’s move this logic over the patent world where we have two recent examples of companies getting in bed with a troll to avoid…getting trolled.  Say what?  Exactly.

It’s no secret that Nest has built a really sexy thermostat.  Normally, I object strenuously to the use of the term “sexy” in business because blech and ewww??  Inappropriate.  But there’s just not another word that does justice to this piece of engineering:


This thing is awesome and would look particularly fetching in my front entryway, replacing the circa 1998 Honeywell electronic thermostat that hangs there now.  And therein lies the rub: Honeywell doesn’t like the new player on the block and so went after Nest for patent infringement.  What did Nest do?  Crawled right into the arms of Intellectual Ventures for some protection .  This is not wholly dissimilar from what Ditto had to do, selling out to IP Nav to get 1-800-Contacts off their back.

Oh, the irony.

Maybe this is exactly what the trolls had in mind to begin with?  First, you go after everyone and their dog for patent infringement, focusing in recent years on the young and weak like startups, and then when the problem has become so rampant in the industry, you offer a “solution” which is nothing more than protection from people like yourself.

As the title of this post suggests. we already have a name for this phenomenon:  Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.  The reality of that particular psychiatric factitious disorder is far sadder because it involves children being harmed and as a Mom let me just tell you that stealing the idea of a girdle brings a microscopic portion of fury as compared to what you’d deal with if you hurt my kid.

But the theory is the same:  you’re “there for” people that are trying to get away from a problem that you created.


Nest image found here.  (That is not an affiliate link, I don’t hawk thermostats.)

I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was, But I’m As Good Once As I Ever Was

There was a time, back in my prime, when I could really hold my own.  And then?  Just like that {insert snap of fingers here} it all went *BLOOP!*, and promptly  fell apart.


Unlike Humpty Dumpty, however, this egg was not doomed to failed attempts at righting by completely inept horses and men belonging to some random king.  No, this egg is going to be just fine, thankyouverylittle, and has put herself back together.  No king’s men needed.  Though if you have a spare one laying around, I’m happy to take him off your hands as long as he looks like Prince William and brings those three delightful children with him.  Someone needs to warn Scotland Yard to look under my sofa should any of the mini-royals go missing because they are ADORABLE and I would take them and raise them all as my own given 1/2 a chance.

Interpol descending on my home in 4…3…2…

Anyhoot…It’s taken almost three years for me to come back to this once-familiar home and I’m not entirely sure why I’m here except that I am OCD and the idea of having no closure on this chapter of my life is something that keeps me up at night, in the very same way that “I wonder what Greg Evigan is doing these days?” doesn’t.

Huge and potentially incredibly embarrassing side bar:  Greg Evigan was the star of a 1980’s TV show about a trucker and his pet monkey (because that’s not at all bizarre) Bear, who was named after the famous coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Bear Bryant,  and I once told Dawn Butkowsky, who was my good friend in the 3rd grade, that he was my uncle.  Oh yes, you read that right.  Only in my incredibly vivid imagination, he drove a blue truck instead of a red one, and would, in actual fact, be driving down her street one upcoming weekend, and I was sure to alert her well in advance so that she could rush out there and verify my story.  Which of course never happened, but Dawn never called me on it and I appreciate that to this day.  Side bar 2:  I once worked at a loan services company for a short nine months and my whackadoodle boss told me that Greg Evigan had hit on her at a party once, something only Dawn Butkowsky would believe.

BJ and the Bear2

So that’s it.  In my absence I have been reminiscing about old 80’s television and nursery rhymes.  And Toby Keith, of course.

The blog will remain up through the end of the year, and then I’ll probably save it out in book form to read to my grandchildren at night, because nothing says “Sweet Dreams!” like companies wielding completely bogus patents as weapons in legal warfare.  Zzzzzzing!

If I can find the time over the holidays to catch up with what’s been going on in Patent Troll Land, I’d love to resurrect this old beast.  A lot has changed though, and I don’t want to commit myself to anything beyond what I’m making for dinner tonight.  And I probably can’t even do that so what I’m actually saying is I have no idea what will happen in this space, and “Fend for yourselves with whatever’s in the fridge, kids!”


Steph, IPTT

{Humpty Dumpty image found here.  BJ and the Bear image found, surprisingly at all, but here.}